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Remarks by Kate Gilmore United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights on the occasion of the launch of the exhibition

“Ensuring That The Voices Of All UN Member States Are Heard: Voices of the Beneficiary Delegates of the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the work of the Human Rights Council”

15 June 2016, 18:00, Entrance of Room XX
Palais des Nations, Geneva

Ambassador Quinn, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen, colleagues and friends,

It is a privilege to be with you this afternoon. On behalf of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, thank you for attending this important event.

At the outset, I would like to pay tribute to the Permanent Mission of Australia and the Permanent Mission of Ireland (Ambassador Patricia O’Brien), for co-sponsoring this event.

I am also very pleased that [the President of the Human Rights Council TBC], H.E. Ms. Natasha Stott Despoja, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls and H.E. Ms. Missouri Sherman-Peter, Permanent Observer of the CARICOM to the United Nations in New York are with us today.

The exhibition being launched today provides us with irrefutable evidence that Human Rights Council resolution 19/26 establishing the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Trust Fund, which was adopted by consensus, was a landmark decision.

Its power lies in enabling LDCs and SIDS to participate in and contribute to the work of Council. As noted by the High Commissioner, these experiences are invaluable for the Council to continue to be a place where all voices can be heard – ultimately bringing us closer to achieving our common goal to better promote and protect all human rights, for all, everywhere.

In this, the Trust Fund has been a game changer. The vast majority of Delegates that the Trust Fund has sponsored had never attended a session of the Council before.

This exhibition highlights their experiences at the Council, while also reflecting on how their participation impacts on their work once they return to their home countries.

As you visit the exhibition, you will see the diversity, richness and strong commitment of these Delegates. They are now engaged in a wide variety of human rights-related activities and initiatives back home, as evidenced by their testimonies. We are very proud of them.

As you will recall, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was gender parity - a call to action to promote the equal representation of women and men and to ensure the increased participation of women in cabinets of ministers, parliaments, committees, panels and in the work of the Human Rights Council.

The LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund has taken concrete steps to make this goal a reality: This week, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Council, I am pleased to announce that the Trust Fund has supported 56 Delegates and Fellows from 44 countries: 25 men and… 31 women! These numbers set a wonderful standard which we should be all proud of, and work to sustain.

Dear colleagues and friends, these achievements have been made possible thanks to the support of our donor countries. They have doubled - from 5 in 2014 to 10 in 2016. Thank you all for your trust and invaluable support.

Finally, I would like to commend the remarkable work being done by the coordinator of the LDCs/SIDS Trust Fund, Ms. Fatou Camara Houel. Fatou’s commitment, out of the box thinking and creativity (it was her idea to organize and design the exhibition) as well as her skilful and efficient management, have contributed to making the Trust Fund a success story.

Thank you Fatou, and all other colleagues and friends who have made sure that the voices of the LDCs and SIDS resonate in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room.