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Opening statement by the President of the Human Rights Council at the 22nd session of the Council

25 February 2013

Mr President of the General Assembly,
Madame High Commissioner,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished colleagues,

As for the first time, I’m attending the main Council’s session in my capacity as the Human Rights Council’s President, let me seize this opportunity to express again my deep gratitude to the Council’s membership for entrusting me with this responsible task of presiding over the work of this august body.

I see also a confidence put on me by you as a recognition of peaceful and successful democratic transformation of Poland which started with the Round Table Talks between the government and the Solidarity opposition movement led by the Nobel Peace laureate Lech Wałęsa in 1989. That transformation was based from the very beginning on the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

We will not enjoy security without development, we will not enjoy development without security, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights” – these wise words of the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, speak for themselves. It was almost 8 years ago at the UN Summit in 2005 when the human rights along with development, peace and security were recognized as mutually reinforcing and interlinked three pillars of the UN system. Now, this is clear more than ever that if one of these pillars is weak, the whole structure becomes fragile. And in this context, I am happy to see a high number of the dignitaries participating in the high-level segment. It is not only just a recognition of the increasing importance of the Human Rights Council as the key international body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights, but also a testimony of growing awareness of the crucial role played by the human rights in ensuring peace and development.

I very much look forward to constructive and fruitful deliberations during the Council’s session engaging all members and observers, as well as the civil society and National Human Rights Institutions.

I do hope that this session will further strengthen the human rights pillar of the UN and by doing so will also reinforce the other two UN pillars.

Thank you.