Mauritius, 31 July 2013
H.E. Mrs. Dwarka-Canabady, Acting Secretary for Foreign Affairs,
H.E. Ms. Iruthisham Adam, Permanent Representative of Maldives at United Nations in Geneva and Vice-president of the Human Rights Council
Mr. Bacre Ndiaye, representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to address you again on the occasion of the closing of this first seminar organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with Mauritius as host government, on the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Islands Developing States in the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review.
We are finalizing two intense days of work in which we have had the opportunity to familiarize with the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council, as well as of its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms, with a special emphasis on it Universal Periodic Review Mechanism, while trying to address the specific needs and challenges for SIDS and LDCs .
Before leaving Geneva I already informed the members of the Bureau of this first interregional seminar devoted exclusively to SIDS and LDCs, as well as Ambassador Adam’s and my participation. It is my intention to update the Council at its next session in September on the outcome of this Seminar.
I think you will agree with me in drawing very positive conclusions of these two days of work.
While presenting the functions, responsibilities and activities of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, we acknowledged some of the challenges SIDS and LDCs face when interacting with the Council, including the capacity and knowledge gaps, together with the difficulty posed by the geographical distance from Geneva. The seminar aimed at filling up some of these gaps. I hope you will walk away from this two days’ discussion with a clearer sense of how to engage more effectively with the Council and its Universal Periodic Review. This Seminar has shown that this mechanism is a unique living process, being refined session after session with the inputs from all.
As President of the Human Rights Council, I hope the OHCHR will continue its efforts in this direction and will build up on the lessons learnt during these two days. This seminar will be thus the first of many more to come. I hope in this connection that the Fund to support LDCs and SIDS in the work of the Council will become operational as soon as possible.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the extraordinary efforts made by Least Developed Countries and Small Islands Developing States. And I especially praise those among us during these two days for having travel from so distant places. Your presence here has demonstrated the engagement of your Governments with the Human Rights Council and their commitment with the international cooperation in the field of human rights.
I would also like to express once again my sincere gratitude to the Government of Mauritius for having offered us such a wonderful hospitality, and to thank the staff of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as of the UNDP office in Mauritius, for all their extraordinary work to make this event possible.
Before concluding, let me wish you all a safe journey back home.
I therefore declare closed the first Interregional seminar to facilitate the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review.