We thank the High Commissioner for his report and for his principled role as our global ombudsman for human rights. Norway supports and finds inspiration in the work of the High Commissioner and takes due note of the many serious human rights violations he has highlighted.
Democracy, human rights and the rule of law must be defended under all circumstances. The right to freedom of speech is at the very heart of human rights and must be promoted, protected and defended. Freedom of speech is the starting point for sustainable States and consequently for development. With a common responsibility and approach to the SDGs we can make sure “no one is left behind”. Social and economic development is inextricably linked to stronger protection of human rights, and as means to end discrimination in all its forms.
We need to strengthen the role of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, financially and politically, in order for him to fulfill his mandated activities. Norway strongly supports the High Commissioners “Change Initiative” and the rationale that the Office needs a stronger field presence to protect and promote human rights in the field.
The Office is not able, within its current regular and extraordinary budget, to provide all states with the advice and the human rights capacity building they are asking for.
Finally, Norway looks forward to a session free of reprisals and intimidations against those who seek to cooperate with this Council or UN mechanisms. This will allow us to openly and freely discuss important topics like Freedom of speech, protection for human rights defenders, Indigenous Peoples rights, Women’s rights and SOGI protection, as well as technical cooperation.