Joint Statement

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Botswana, Costa Rica, Georgia, Ireland, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Kingdom and Uruguay. Mr President The 10th anniversary of the Human Rights Council and this high-level panel discussion provide an opportunity for us all – States, NHRIs, civil society and OHCHR itself- to take stock, but also to look with a clear eye at the progress still to be made. We are a diverse, cross regional group, with very different legal systems, histories, traditions and cultures. And yet this in no way alters our shared commitment to constructively engaging across the full mandate of the Human Rights Council.There is much to celebrate in the Council’s achievements to date. The innovative approach of the Universal Periodic Review through a unique peer review evaluation of the human rights situation in each State in turn, the detailed and expert work of the Special Procedures, and the expert assessment of the treaty bodies have all been particularly significant in supporting the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. And while there is always room for improvement, we also consider as particularly valuable the now well-established practices at the Council to ensure civil society participation. These practices are a logical practical expression of the General Assembly’s recognition in 60/251 of the important role played by civil society in promotion and protection of human rights.Of course challenges remain to allow the Council to become more effective and more connected to real change on the ground. We are proud of the role we have played in the Council in its first 10 years and we are committed to ongoing constructive engagement in all fora with this goal in mind. We are of the view, for example, that participation and visibility of the NHRIs in the work of the Human Rights Council needs to be further enhanced. Interaction with the treaty bodies could usefully be developed. A commitment by members or candidates for membership of the Council to examine initiatives on their merits and refrain from use of procedural devices and to cooperate fully with the Council and its mechanisms would be welcome. It is true too that the Council has perhaps become the victim of its own success, in terms of the time and workload pressure on it and the Secretariat. We would be interested in the views of the panel on how to ensure that the volume of the Council’s work does not negatively impact on its concrete and substantive output. Can voluntary commitments to biennialisation or triennialisation take us far enough?We also remind of the General Assembly’s stipulation that members of the Council shall “uphold the highest standards” in protection of human rights. How does the panel consider we are faring on that score?Finally, we are convinced that for the Council to operate at its best; and indeed for progress to be made on the ground on promotion and protection of human rights, a strong, independent and adequately financed Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is required. We call on all States to defend the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner and to work to ensure that adequate financial provision is made for its work through predictable, sustainable and stable financing.Thank you