General Debate under Item 5
Item:5 - General Debate Human rights bodies and mechanisms
21 September 2018
Joint Statement by: International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Thank you Mr. President,
Earlier this year, a major decision was taken by UN member states to heavily cut the budget of the UN. EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice would like to express our deep concern with this decision as it adversely affects the functioning of the Human Rights Council, its human rights bodies and mechanisms, and in turn humanitarian and climate disasters, and the most vulnerable who deserve this Council’s attention.
It is deeply worrying that this decision was taken after it was well acknowledging that the total workload of this Council more than doubled and is likely to increase considering the current and projected state of human rights situations across the globe. Such budget cuts, with reduced allocated time equate to less efficiency, less data, and a reduction of expertise.
Mr. President, how are we expected to promote and protect human rights with a reduced budget and increased work load?
We are also very much concerned that these cuts will reduce civil society space in the Human Rights Council by way of indirect factors that may not be realised until it is too late.
On this issue, we note that while this Council’s President has continuously warned against acts of intimidation, personal attacks, and other behaviour of that nature, we regrettably inform that most recently there have been such incidents by members of this Council against representatives of non-governmental organisations. It is also with deep regret to note that there appears to be a selective attitude in addressing reprisals against NGOs.
In conclusion, we reiterate the words of Danish lawyer Morten Kjaerum, “The civil society organisations are the eyes, the ears and the voice for protecting and promoting human rights. The importance of NGOs can therefore not be overstated.”