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Joint statement on Small Island Developing States

Mr President, 

It is my great honour to deliver this statement on behalf of a cross-regional group consisting of Australia, The Bahamas, Morocco, Singapore and the Maldives, and with the support of 77 (additional) States, the list of which is annexed to this statement.

As a global community, we have adopted a sustainable development agenda wherein we have pledged that no one will be left behind. We therefore reaffirm our collective commitment to the agenda’s full implementation. The realisation of human rights is fundamental to sustainable development and the maintenance of peace and security across the globe. 

Human rights is one of the three main pillars of the UN system.  Mainstreaming human rights remains an important mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. However, it is equally important to ensure that human rights are mainstreamed not just within the UN system, but also integrated at the national level in all member states. Furthermore, we reaffirm that human rights should be treated in a fair and equal manner and should be promoted in every country with the same emphasis.

In this chamber, we are the beating heart of the United Nations. The global community has high expectations of us. It is imperative that every UN member state has the opportunity to participate in the work of this Council, in keeping with our commitment to leave no one behind. Therefore participation in the Council’s work must be – also in reality - universal. Today we welcome the participation of 16 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), who have not yet been able to actively participate in the work of this Council until this Session. It is noteworthy that while SIDS represent less than one percent of the world’s population, they make up 20 percent of the UN’s membership. Ensuring the perspectives of SIDS, as well as those of civil society including those from SIDS, are heard here in the Council will continue to have a positive impact on the effectiveness and relevance of our work.

We would like to particularly thank all States that have made contributions to the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to support the participation of LDCs and SIDS which has made possible the holding of this session with the participation of all SIDS and LDCs.  We seize the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the HRC to underline the importance of paying particular attention to the participation of all SIDS in the work of the HRC.  We acknowledge the commitment of all LDCs and SIDS to the Universal Periodical Review and recognize their national efforts to guarantee its universality.

In recent years, the pulse of our efforts, our work, our mandates have increased, all focussed towards meeting the growing demands of our troubled times. So must our resolve. In this spirit, we encourage the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to identify avenues to ensure the full participation of women and men of all member states, including LDCs and SIDS, and we encourage States to contribute to the Trust Fund.

In order to ensure the effective contribution of SIDS to the work of the HRC, we call on the International community to provide them with the necessary technical assistance and capacity building. Often it is not the will, but the ability that hinders representation and participation, as SIDS face unique challenges in the area of financial and human resources as well as institutional and technical capacity

Mr. President,

Our efforts can only gain value, when the world’s most vulnerable can raise their voices in institutions such as this. It is when we are all equally represented, that we might collectively seek a just future for all our peoples and succeeding generations.

Thank you.