Excellencies, dear colleagues,
On behalf of Switzerland, Norway and the Universal Rights Group, it is a great pleasure for me to welcome you to a discussion based on the fresh report titled “Human rights implementation, compliance and the prevention of violations: turning international norms into local reality”.
We are currently witnessing unprecedented challenges to human rights, peace and development. Violations and abuses are widespread are significant, yet we see many positive developments as well.
Last year the new Sustainable Development Goals –SDGs - were adopted by all UN members. This was a significant and historic agreement. It sets out an ambitious plan for all of us to ”leaving no one behind”. This is a call not only to end poverty, but to tackle inequality and discrimination. It’s a call to ensure that all people are entitled and given the same set of rights irregardless of gender, race, religious and political background. .
These rights exist already through inter alia the conventants on civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, and a number of human rights conventions. Human rights are at the very core of the SDGs. Thus, there is no shortage of rights to be implemented. It is the implementation itself that is the challenge.
These were the key topics of the third Glion dialog held on 4-5 May this year. Over these two days, participants engaged in rich and substantive discussions on how to strengthen states implementation of human rights obligations. The report seeks to reflect and capture the ideas that were brought out in this debate.
Let me mention a few interesting examples:
- Reporting structures. The reporting requirements from treaty bodies, UPR and special procedures can be quite challenging for both developed and developing countries. The growing interest in a ”standing national implementation, coordination and reporting structure” or ”national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up” reflects an innovative and efficient way to improve human rights compliance. The OHCHR has this year presented a very interesting report on this topic as well. It will be very interesting to continue this dialog on practical ways to improve our reporting tools to enhance and strengthen our human rights mechanisms.
- Although states and its governments have the primary responsibility in promoting and protecting human rights, there is scope to involving the legislative branch and related actors. Both parliaments and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) could be involved in a national effort to enhance human rights reporting and implementation. The report reflects on some interesting ideas which merits further discussion.
- Mobilizing actors in domestic civil society could also sustain focus on implementation. Its ability to provide on-the-ground expertise on key human rights issues, could make it a valuable partner to both governments, parliaments and the UN system.
- Improving the Council’s item 10 debates could further strengthen technical assistance and capacity building of states on human rights. Ideas included the need to ensure that all requests for technical assistances is meet by sufficient resources. Other ideas pointed to ways of sharing best experiences and creating positive incentives to improve human rights compliance.
As you can read from the report and hear from our distinguished speakers today, there are numerous ways and ideas to enhance human rights compliance and implementation. I look forward to our discussion today and to taking these ideas into actionable steps in the future.
Thank you for your attention.