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Human Rights Council holds high-level panel on mainstreaming human rights with a focus on the contribution of human rights to peacekeeping

AFTERNOON

GENEVA (27 February 2017) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon held its annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming, with a focus on the contribution of human rights to peacebuilding.
 
Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, President of the Human Rights Council, opening the panel, said it would focus on the contribution of human rights to peacebuilding through the enhancement of dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights.
 
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a key-note statement, said human rights not only identified areas of grievance but underpinned the work of resolving them, which required thoughtful and principal investment, prioritizing human dignity and viewing civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as indivisible.  Impunity for committed crimes heightened grievances, and perpetuated new crimes.  The stronger cooperation between the Human Rights Council and both the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council was essential for more effective peacebuilding and prevention.
 
Peter Thomson, President of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly, in a key-note statement, said that current conflicts were estimated to be impacting over a billion people which were driving the mass displacement of people, leading to the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis since World War II.  Peacebuilding efforts required greater focus on dialogue and cooperation among all relevant stakeholders. 
 
Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, acting as the panel moderator, said the panel would focus on how best to ensure that human rights were better integrated into peacebuilding processes, how best to ensure that human rights mechanisms received adequate information, and what else was needed so that inter-governmental bodies and others could benefit from the same level of human rights and peacebuilding information and act cohesively.
 
The panellists were Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme; Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support; Yvette Stevens, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva; Jean Ziegler, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee; and Julienne Lusenge, President of Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises, Founder and Chair of the Board of Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
 
Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said in response to the two parallel resolutions by the General Assembly and the Security Council that asked the United Nations system to rethink how it anticipated and responded to conflict and to work across the three pillars to sustain peace, there had already been quite a few positive efforts made.  One in which the United Nations Development Programme had been engaged in was the creation of a United Nations Global Focal Point around police, justice and corrections.  The second one was the Human Rights up Front initiative.  The third example at the country level was the deployment of peace and development advisors in support of Resident Coordinators in countries experiencing tensions.  Mainstreaming human rights would support peacebuilding and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. 
 
Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, stressed the importance of the ground-breaking joint resolutions on sustaining peace adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council in April 2016, which were a comprehensive statement on the role of the United Nations in peacebuilding and prevention.  The resolutions were committed to addressing the root causes of conflict, including fundamental human rights concerns such as inequality and discrimination, and they put Member States and their populations in the lead through inclusive national leadership.
 
Yvette Stevens, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said it was important to note that Sierra Leone was the first country where the United Nations had a mandate for peacebuilding.  With international assistance, Sierra Leone overcame the massive human rights abuses that had plagued the country during the war, and the remaining human rights abuses were now more economic and social in nature.  There was a role for the Peacebuilding Commission to work together with the entire system to look at longer-term issues that impacted the country.
 
Jean Ziegler, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, noted that nowadays the principal actors in the globalized economy were not States but multinational corporations, which held more power than any emperor, king or pope had ever exercised.  The international civil society coalition Stop Impunity had proposed that the victims of human right violations perpetrated by multinational companies bring their complaints for damages in the country of origin of multinational companies.  The adoption of a related treaty would constitute a decisive tool of the United Nations in the universalization of human rights.
 
Julienne Lusenge, President of Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises, Founder and Chair of the Board of Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral, Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that in most conflicts, human rights violations were the causes and the factors which fostered the conflict; however, human rights were most frequently regarded as an add-on in the United Nations peacebuilding.  Mainstreaming human rights in peacebuilding in the United Nations meant including women at all levels of decision-making. 
 
During the discussion, speakers noted that one of the obstacles to peacebuilding on the ground was the fragmentation between bodies responsible for peacebuilding, peacekeeping and sustainable development.  Others underlined that developing countries were affected by the consequences of extended conflicts, and that solidarity, friendship and peaceful coexistence were key to relations between States.  Some noted that the global community’s collective response to human rights challenges had been limited by narrow objectives that tended to ignore their underlying causes.  Several delegations noted the importance of the realization of economic, social and cultural rights as the key for achieving sustainable development and peace.  It was also said that peace-building implied the rule of law, respect for human rights, access to justice and reparation, and a robust and credible mechanism for supporting, rehabilitating and reintegrating victims.
 
Speaking were Liechtenstein, also on behalf of Austria, Slovenia, and Switzerland; Brazil, on behalf of Community of Portuguese Language Countries; Angola; Guatemala; South Africa; Viet Nam; Uruguay; Greece; El Salvador, on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; Tunisia, on behalf of the African Group; Venezuela, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement; China, on behalf of the African Group and China; Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference; Egypt, on behalf of the Like-Minded Group; Norway,  on behalf of a group of countries; European Union;  Qatar; Australia; Nigeria; Thailand; Portugal;  Republic of Korea; Switzerland; Bolivia; Pakistan; and the Russian Federation.
 
Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions took the floor as did the following non-governmental organizations: United Nations Watch, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, Indian Council of South America, and Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture.
 
The Council will resume its work at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, 28 February, when it will continue with its high-level segment.
 
Opening Statements
 
JOAQUÍN ALEXANDER MAZA MARTELLI, President of the Human Rights Council, said that this year’s annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming would focus on the contribution of human rights to peacebuilding through the enhancement of dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights.  Mr. Maza Martelli welcomed Peter Thompson, President of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly, and Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and introduced the panellists.
 
ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that there was a crucial need for United Nations peacebuilding to integrate strong and forthright human rights contributions.  Human rights not only identified areas of grievance but underpinned the work of resolving those grievances, thus ensuring the sustainability of all efforts to ensure peace and security.  Deprivation, discrimination and violation of human rights were at the root of virtually every conflict; there could be no real hope of rebuilding and sustaining peace unless those grievances were identified and resolved.  To heal grievances required thoughtful and principal investment, prioritizing human dignity and viewing civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights as indivisible.  Broken national institutions must be pieced together.  Politics, justice, security and the provision of basic social services must be made more inclusive, while effective structures must be devised to resolve dispute without violence in ways adapted to local context, while addressing the needs of communities which were traditionally ignored. 
 
Impunity for committed crimes heightened grievances, and perpetuated new crimes.  It was well known from the field experience of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that there was a far greater likelihood of reconciliation when all sides were held accountability for the violations that they had committed.  Using the broad human rights framework, which importantly took into account violations of economic, social and cultural rights, helped understand the structural violence, exclusion and inequality which bred violence.  This economic inequality and insecurity must also be addressed for conflict prevention; in this the Sustainable Development Goals were crucial in ensuring the right to development for those often deliberately left behind and marginalized.  Mainstreaming the broad spectrum of human rights recommendations into all peacebuilding work was also essential to sustaining peace. 
 
Human rights and security bodies had not always successfully integrated their knowledge and expertise, and justice and sustainable peace were not always shared by all stakeholders and institutions within the international system.  There remained a suspicion towards a human rights agenda, which was seen as interfering with efforts to restore a stable governing structure and prevented actors from seeking more pragmatic solutions.  Stronger cooperation between the Human Rights Council and both the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council was essential for more effective peacebuilding and prevention.  The Security Council should adopt a menu of possible responses to early warning alerts, and there should be greater operational deployment of the recommendations and reports of human rights bodies, commissions of inquiry, fact-finding missions and Special Procedures.  
 
PETER THOMSON, President of the seventy-first session of the General Assembly, said the array of threats to international peace and security had mushroomed over seven decades, with ever more lethal forms of warfare, the proliferation of terrorism and asymmetrical warfare, and the abuse of human rights in armed conflicts as a weapon of war.  Without the work of the United Nations, however, history would have been far more deeply scarred.  Nevertheless, the world faced some unpleasant realities.  Current conflicts were estimated to be impacting over a billion people, and they were driving the mass displacement of people, leading to the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis since World War II.  Cycles of conflict meant that 95 per cent of refugees and internally displaced persons in developing countries had been affected by the same 10 conflicts since 1991.  That alone was evidence that the United Nations’ traditional approach to peace and security and post-conflict peacebuilding had not been effective.  Peacebuilding efforts would therefore require greater focus on dialogue and cooperation among all relevant stakeholders.  It was critical that the new approach to sustaining peace became an integral part of the United Nations methodology.  As the United Nations and Member States moved to implement the drive toward sustaining peace, it was essential to advance with a common purpose, working in step with key stakeholders across Governments, the United Nations system, and civil society in a collective effort to improve the world. 
 
Statements by the Panel Moderator and the Panellists
 
KATE GILMORE, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and panel moderator, said the United Nations resolutions on sustaining peace were ground-breaking, placing conflict prevention, human rights and sustaining of peace at the very core purpose of the international community.  However, no matter how much effort had been made, the world was demanding that more be done.  As such, there was no place for the continued gap between peace and security, development and human rights.  The panel would focus on how best to ensure that human rights were better integrated into peacebuilding processes, how best to ensure that human rights mechanisms received adequate information, and what else was needed so that inter-governmental bodies and others could benefit from the same level of human rights and peacebuilding information and act cohesively.
 
Ms. Gilmore asked the first panellist how she saw the United Nations system working more coherently across the three pillars - human rights, development, and peace and security - and forging partnerships that contributed to more results and impact on peacebuilding and human rights?
 
HELEN CLARK, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said that following the reviews related to peace and security that came out of New York at the request of the former Secretary-General, there had been the two parallel resolutions by the General Assembly and the Security Council that asked the United Nations system to rethink how it anticipated and responded to conflict and to work across the three pillars to sustain peace.  There had already been quite a few positive efforts made.  One in which the United Nations Development Programme had been engaged in was the creation of a United Nations Global Focal Point around police, justice and corrections.  This had been led by the United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and focused on peacekeeping environments which supported building the rule of law institutions and services in countries that were experiencing fragility.  It was a prime example of how all could come together around the three major pillars.  The second one was the Human Rights up Front initiative that the United Nations Development Programme had led with the Department of Political Affairs on a process of quarterly regional reviews on risks of human rights violations.  The third example at the country level was the deployment of peace and development advisors in support of Resident Coordinators in countries experiencing tensions.  The fourth example was the United Nations Development Programme’s work with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions to support the strengthening of national human rights institutions, which worked on the front lines, providing early warnings of human rights violations and support for post-conflict peacebuilding.  The United Nations Development Programme had also supported many Member States in taking part in the Universal Periodic Review, and in following through with support for the implementation of recommendations.  Mainstreaming human rights would support peacebuilding and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  It was highly appropriate that the 2030 Agenda was a cross-pillar process. 
 
KATE GILMORE, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and panel moderator, asked the next panellist to elaborate on how human rights could contribute to the sustaining peace agenda.
 
OSCAR FERNANDEZ-TARANCO, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, stressed the importance of the ground-breaking joint resolutions on sustaining peace, adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council in April 2016, which were a comprehensive statement on the role of the United Nations in peacebuilding and prevention.  The resolutions had placed “sustaining peace” at the core of the United Nations actions.  The Secretary-General had similarly identified prevention as his number one priority, stating that prevention was not merely “a” priority, but “the” priority.  In order to prioritise prevention, the resolutions of sustaining peace and the Secretary-General’s articulate vision of the United Nations, it was crucial to connect efforts for peace and security, sustainable development and human rights, not only in words but in practice, and to advance a strongly integrated approach.  Sustaining peace also underlined the comprehensive, far-reaching and people centred vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and underscored the vital and positive role of women and youth in peacebuilding.  The resolutions were committed to addressing the root causes of conflict, including fundamental human rights concerns such as inequality and discrimination, and they put Member States and their populations in the lead through inclusive national leadership.
 
KATE GILMORE, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and panel moderator, asked the next panellist to share her country’s perspective on how the integration of human rights and justice considerations in its peacebuilding process had helped Sierra Leone recover from war.

YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone: said her country had taken a two-pronged approach with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Court for Sierra Leone.  It was important to note that Sierra Leone was the first country where the United Nations had a mandate for peacebuilding.  UNAMSIL had benefited from the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a programme had been set up to address what had come out of the report.  The approach had been to bring together mandates from various United Nations agencies.  With international assistance, Sierra Leone overcame the massive human rights abuses that had plagued the country during the war, the remaining human rights abuses were now more economic and social in nature.
 
KATE GILMORE, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and panel moderator, asked Ms. Stevens to share some reflections on how she saw the Peacebuilding Commission playing a greater role in the integration of human rights.
 
YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone: said there was a role for the Peacebuilding Commission to work together with the entire system to look at longer-term issues that impacted the country.  In that regard there was also a need to look at the economic and social rights and the right to development.
 
KATE GILMORE, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and panel moderator, asked the next panellist how better dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights could contribute to peacebuilding.
 
JEAN ZIEGLER, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, said that human rights were mentioned 15 times in the United Nations Charter, but not once in its Chapter 7.  Therefore, human rights could not be imposed by force on sovereign States but only by cooperation and dialogue between States.  This cooperation for peacebuilding for the universalization of human rights must scrupulously respect the sovereignty of States.  When in 2000, Kofi Annan presented the Millennium Development Goals, he said that there was interdependence between the fight for peace, economic development and the universalization of human rights.  Poverty was the environment in which violence and wars flourished.  Thus it was very important to have the economic order established.  According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, more than 850 million people were the victims of malnutrition and hunger.  Every five minutes a child under the age of 10 died of hunger or because of its immediate consequences.  That happened on a planet which, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, could feed 12 billion people.  Mr. Ziegler noted that nowadays the principal actors in globalized economy were not States but multinational corporations, which held more power than any emperor, king or pope had ever exercised. 
 
According to the World Bank, in 2015 the 500 biggest multinational corporations controlled in one way or another 52.8 per cent of all the global wealth.  It was true that during the past decade a great number of multinational corporations had recognized the existence of human rights and their own obligation to uphold human rights.  The Global Compact between the United Nations and certain multinational corporations had been signed in 1999.  An inter-State working group, led by Ecuador and with great support from civil society, had been created in order to prepare a treaty which would establish control mechanisms for multinational companies in the observation of human rights.  The working group would present its first report during the thirty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council, whereas the second report was due during the session in September 2017.  The question which remained to be discussed was a judiciary one.  The international civil society coalition Stop Impunity proposed that the victims of human right violations perpetrated by multinational companies should bring their complaints for damages in the country of origin of multinational companies.  Despite the extraordinary mobilization of international civil society and of the working group, the establishment of the treaty was still uncertain.  The European Union and the United States were opposed to its adoption.  The adoption of the treaty would constitute a decisive tool of the United Nations in the universalization of human rights.
 
KATE GILMORE, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights and panel moderator, asked about the role of civil society in peacebuilding, including the role of women and young people.
 
JULIENNE LUSENGE, President of Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises, and Founder and Chair of the Board of Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral, Democratic Republic of the Congo, stressed the role of peace as an engine for bringing about the 2030 Agenda.  In most conflicts, human rights violations were the causes and the factors which fostered the conflict; however, human rights were most frequently regarded as an add-on in the United Nations peacebuilding.  Human rights were a wonderful abstract thought that might be obtained once arms were laid down.  To ensure mainstreaming human rights in peacebuilding in the United Nations, there must be a positive synergy between human rights, peacebuilding and sustainable development.  This meant including women at all levels of decision-making.  The example of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was the best to demonstrate the crucial role that women could play in peacebuilding, as was the case of women mediating in a local conflict between the administration and Pygmies in North Kivu.  When women were included in peace negotiations, they brought respect for human rights, lasting peace and development.  Women were often regarded only as victims of conflict, however, when women’s rights were actively mainstreamed at the local levels, women became the key to opening the door to peace.  Women needed to be supported in their efforts to make peace in their communities; this support must be made tangible, for example by ensuring the participation of women at all levels, and especially the highest levels.  Peace must be constructed from grassroots and from bottoms up.  Women also must be listened to – as they were affected by the conflict, they had the solutions and proposals to resolve it.
 
Discussion
 
Liechtenstein, speaking also on behalf of Austria, Slovenia, and Switzerland, welcomed the shift towards a more comprehensive approach on sustaining peace and said that gaps in the implementation of sustainable development commitments and human rights violations were warning signs of the erosion of peace, security and stability.  Brazil, speaking on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, said that the Peacebuilding Commission must be strongly supported in the delivery of its mandate and asked how regional organizations could support the peacebuilding efforts of the United Nations.  Angola had adopted several peacebuilding policies to strengthen national reconciliation and unity following 30 years of civil conflict; the progress had been possible thanks to dialogue and the full integration of all stakeholders in the Government, the Parliament and the national army.  Guatemala said that one of the obstacles to peacebuilding on the ground was the fragmentation between bodies responsible for peacebuilding, peacekeeping and sustainable development, and insisted on a greater policy coherence and investments in national institutions and policies. 
 
South Africa maintained that the preservation and maintaining of international peace could not be seen separately from socio-economic development, and that resolutions on the resolution of conflict must be peaceful and in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law.  Viet Nam said that mainstreaming human rights in all stages of peacebuilding would help prevent conflict and keep the international community grounded in what needed to be done in the wake of a conflict to build sustainable and successful societies.  Uruguay stressed that preserving peace for future generations was the universal mandate of all States today and said that the commitment to multilateralism and respect for international law were thus crucial.  Greece stressed the paramount importance of a human rights framework, consensus and dialogue, as well as the participation of all segments of the society in the peacebuilding process.  El Salvador, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, reiterated the commitment of the countries in the region to continue to make progress in peace and security, based on the rule of law, and said that sustaining peace was a goal and a process, which must take into account the views of all segments of the population. 
 
Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said human rights should be placed at the heart of conflict prevention, adding that without development there could be no lasting peace.  Venezuela, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, said developing countries were affected by the consequences of extended conflicts, and that solidarity, friendship and peaceful coexistence were key to relations between States.  China, speaking on behalf of the African Group and China, said that to realize sustained peace, all countries should pursue common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, consistent with the letter, spirit and objective of the Charter of the United Nations. 
 
Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions said that peacebuilding needed strong institutions to ensure domestic ownership of solutions developed after conflict.  United Nations Watch said United Nations human rights mechanisms had a critical role to play, acting as early warning systems, to deal with situations like that in Libya where human rights defenders were being assassinated, and asked the panel whether the United Nations could draw lessons from how officials from that country’s former regime had served on United Nations panels and in other functions.  Friends World Committee for Consultation said the fragmentation of the United Nations system should be addressed, asking for specific suggestions related to how that could be addressed in the field of peacebuilding.
 
Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, stated that the realization of economic, social and cultural rights was the key for achieving sustainable development and peace.  Hate speech, stigmatization and xenophobia should be countered with open and constructive dialogue.  Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Like-Minded Group, noted that peace consolidation could be achieved by addressing inequalities in and among countries.  The global community’s collective response to human rights challenges had been limited by narrow objectives that tended to ignore their underlying causes.  Norway, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, noted that human rights mainstreaming within the United Nations system was central to sustaining peace, and that the Human Rights Council had a unique mandate to strengthen dialogue and cooperation, prevention, and provide technical assistance to States on their request.  European Union stressed that peace-building implied the rule of law, respect for human rights, access to justice and reparations, and a robust and credible mechanism for supporting, rehabilitating and reintegrating victims. 
 
Qatar said that the main pillars of the United Nations could not be divided and it was not possible to speak about peace and stability without development, and there was no development and prosperity without human rights.  Australia said that serious and escalating human rights abuses were often the early warning of conflict and that in those instances, the United Nations human rights architecture, including the Council, had a key role to play in detecting emerging crises.  How could human rights mechanisms deepen their engagement on peacebuilding?  One of the core lessons to emerge from the countries rebuilding after conflict was the overarching importance of national dialogue and international cooperation to their peacebuilding efforts, said Nigeria, stressing that peacebuilding initiatives must be translated into concrete benefits that touched human lives at the basic levels.  Thailandunderlined the importance of interfaith dialogue which was key to fostering peaceful coexistence across diverse societies.  Portugal said that the incorporation of human rights concerns throughout the work of the United Nations required strengthening the coherence and improving the exchange of information across the United Nations system, and asked the panellists about the role of special procedures in this endeavour.
 
Republic of Korea said people’s sense of belonging and access to opportunities were the building blocks for sustainable peace, adding that the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission should play a bridging role between security, development and human rights by convening a broad range of stakeholders.  Switzerland said human rights played a central role in sustaining peace, and that human rights violations were often at the root of conflict.  Bolivia said peace and development went hand in hand, adding that armed conflict had links with an economic system that benefited social exclusion.
 
Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik said that goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals focused on peacebuilding, asking whether statistics showed progress toward that goal, and how nations lagging behind could be convinced to join in fighting for human rights.  Indian Council of South America said the denial of placing the right to self-determination on the agenda of the Human Rights Council was a denial of rights as self-determination was a first step to peacebuilding.  Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture said Bahrain was one of the first countries to accept the review of the Universal Periodic Review process, but the situation had deteriorated and many people had been tortured and deprived of communication with their lawyers, and there had also been restrictions on journalists. 
 
Pakistan stated that peacebuilding required country-tailored strategies based on principles of national ownership, leadership and inclusivity.  Russian Federation said that the core element of the United Nation’s work in that area had to be unconditional cultural, historical and religious specificities of affected countries.  Otherwise, peacebuilding efforts would be counter effective and harmful. 
 
Concluding Remarks
 
OSCAR FERNANDEZ-TARANCO, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, said that a lot of the discussion could be meaningful in New York.  Early warning signs were a very important element for the Peacebuilding Commission, which was called upon to diversify its working methods.  Different focal points had been established to discuss various topics.  Mainstreaming human rights could be a very important part of those discussions.  The Peacebuilding Fund was the Secretary-General’s instrument that explored how to aid national authorities.  That fund was engineered to be risk tolerant in order to be able to intervene quickly, respond and provide peacebuilding assistance.  The Fund was instrumental in the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to deliver on the ground, notably with respect to reconciliation efforts. 
 
YVETTE STEVENS, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to the United Nations at Geneva, said that the Human Rights Council had already been doing a lot to highlight human rights abuses.  Because of the mandates of the different bodies of the human rights system, the Council was already doing what it could.  The rhetoric that went behind peacebuilding had been in use for a long time, but the practice was not where it should be.  Action was lacking.  The 2030 Development Agenda provided an opportunity to address peacebuilding and maintain sustainable peace. 
 
JEAN ZIEGLER, Member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, highlighted the links between the right to development and the struggle for peace.  This year would be decisive in the Council moving forward the right to development, he said, noting that the Council was at a critical juncture. 
 
JULIENNE LUSENGE, President of  Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises and Founder and Chair of the Board of Solidarité Féminine pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral, Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that the international community must take seriously the strength and wisdom of women so that they were included at the table of peace negotiations.  True cooperation between countries and across the world was needed to make peace sustainable.  She urged the international community to use the recommendations and reports of the United Nations to further peace and development globally.
 
JOAQUIN ALEXANDER MAYA MARTELLI, President of the Human Rights Council, expressed thanks to all for contributing to the success of the annual high-level panel on human rights mainstreaming, and reminded delegates of the importance of mutual respect, stressing that everyone must illustrate differences respectfully.

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