Nordic Statement, delivered by Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway
Human Rights Council 44th Session. Item 2 – Interactive Dialogue
The annual report of the High Commissioner
30 June 2020
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Thank you Mme President,
I have the honor of delivering this statement on behalf of the Nordic Countries; Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and my own country Norway.
We thank the High Commissioner for her oral update and for OHCHR’s efforts to protect and promote human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Secretary General’s Call to Action and his COVID-19 response “We are all in this together” are both timely and relevant tools in these challenging times.
We are deeply concerned about the restrictions, attacks, and other challenges facing human rights defenders, civil society, health workers, journalists and other media workers. All actions taken to address COVID-19 must be in line with international law.
Open and participatory decision-making processes make societies more resilient. Freedom of expression, association and assembly [online and offline] and meaningful participation are key components of democracy, and also vital enablers of other human rights. Therefore, it is in our interest that these human rights, and the persons defending them, are safeguarded and empowered. A strong civil society and a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders should be a priority for all countries, also when responding to a crisis.
Particular attention should be paid to the multiple and intersecting risks facing WHRDs, including discrimination and violence.
Mme High Commissioner,
What can OHCHR do to further support States in developing and maintaining a robust civil society, also in time of crises so that societies are more prepared in the face of the ongoing crisis and those yet to come?