Human Rights Council 49th Session.
Statement at the introduction of the draft resolution on human rights defenders delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway
I have the honor to present the draft resolution L.9 titled “Recognizing the contribution of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, in conflict and post-conflict situations, to the enjoyment and realization of human rights”.
Norway presented the resolution for the Human Rights Council to send a strong and unified message of recognition and support to human rights defenders.
We sincerely thank all the delegations for actively engaging with us in a positive and constructive manner. Their comments and suggestions have contributed to improving the text so that we may today send such a strong message.
Human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, play an essential role in promoting and protecting human rights in conflict and post-conflict situations.
They bring attention to the effect of conflicts on human rights. They monitor and document violations and abuses. They assist victims in gaining access to justice. They promote accountability and fight impunity.
They enable regional and international organisations and human rights mechanisms, including the UN, to fulfil their mandates by gathering, providing and corroborating information on human rights violations and abuses.
Through this work, they are providing the building blocks necessary for conflict prevention, resolution, and post-conflict reconstruction.
Through their work, they are laying the groundwork for inclusive, peaceful, and democratic societies.
Regrettably, the nature of their work too often puts them in harms’ way. Human rights defenders continue to face threats, harassment, violence and even killings owing to their work. Women human rights defenders are also exposed to gendered threats and violence.
This is why Norway is presenting the draft resolution. We urge the Human Rights Council to respond with a message of recognition and support for human rights defenders and their work.
We have strived for an open, inclusive and comprehensive process. We have had 8 rounds of informal consultations and numerous talks and meetings with delegations. This process that has led to the draft resolution we are adopting today. We have reached out to all, and our door open has always been open.
In the spirit of compromise, we tried to negotiate almost until adoption. It is therefore with regret that I note that it was not possible to find agreement this year.
We are nevertheless proud to present a draft resolution that sends a strong and clear message to human rights defenders.
We thank all the co-sponsors of the resolution for their important and ongoing support and invite other delegations to consider co-sponsoring this important resolution. We again thank all delegations for the constructive engagement during the negotiations.
We now invite the Council to adopt the resolution. We call on all Members of the Council to vote yes in support for human rights defenders and their work.