General Debate under Item 2
Item:2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
11 September 2018
Joint Statement by: International-Lawyers.Org and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Mr. President, International-Lawyers.org welcomes the new High Commissioner for Human Rights Dr. Michelle Bachelet and her opening statement.
We especially welcome the High Commissioner’s focus on the rights of women and children to health care and to development. We note that these rights, together with other social and economic rights have been increasingly marginalized by the Council. We hope that the High Commissioner, as a former head of State, will be able to encourage the Council’s Member States to provide equal attention and resources to the protection of both civil and political as well as economic and social rights. Indeed, the right to development brings both these groups of human rights together requiring States to cooperate for, and to ensure within their own borders, equity and equality in the exploitation and use of the resources of this planet.
We also note the references to climate change and human rights. To date there has been a notable lack of dedicated climate change expertise in the Office of the High Commissioner. We continue to advocate for a dedicated Human Rights Council mandate on climate change and human rights, for which a conditio sina qua non is the establishment of greater expert capacity in the OHCHR.
Finally, we hope that the High Commissioner will also prioritize non-discrimination, and the dissemination and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action against racism and other insidious forms of discrimination. Action on this global agenda has not only been slow, but sometimes has been sacrificed for other priorities appearing to have been decided not by the Member States. The UN itself must be the flag bearer of human rights and the priorities that the international community has acknowledged in legally-binding treaties and other aspirational pronouncements. Your record as not only a head of State, but perhaps more importantly as human rights defender, is evidence that you can ensure this result.