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Statements Human Rights Council

Video-message by HRC President for the HRC 10th Anniversary Event at UNHQ, New York, 15 March 2016

15 March 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very happy to be able to address you via this video message to celebrate this important event. 

Over the past ten years, the Human Rights Council has established itself as the premier forum on human rights.

The extremely full work programme for our current session here in Geneva exemplifies the importance so many attach to this body.   

The Council has played a key role in shaping human rights agendas and developing relevant norms.

In responding to emergencies, it has sounded the alarm bells of potential or deteriorating crises.  

The Council’s Special Procedures are an essential part of our work as they continue to shed light on the darkest corners around the globe. 

Civil society actors remain our vital partners as they inform our discussions with a sense of passion, resolve and vibrancy.

The Universal Periodic Review has proven to be a powerful tool to promote change and reflection on sensitive issues for each community, region and country. 

Despite our great efforts, however, we continue to witness serious human rights violations and atrocities around the world.

It is time to ensure our words are turned into actions. The Council should move from developing norms to focus more on implementation.  
The Human Rights Council has become a victim of its own success.  The sheer number of issues discussed, meetings held, and resolutions adopted - well over one thousand to date - is staggering.

The ever-increasing workload poses a serious challenge for us. We must have more time to engage in constructive dialogue and ensure crucial messages don’t get lost.

And to do all of this, we must work together to strengthen the Council’s efficiency as well as its effectiveness.

We have seen how the activities of the Human Rights Council have helped reinforce the links between human rights, peace and security and development – the three pillars of the United Nations. 

We now need to ensure that these activities in Geneva echo in New York and are properly supported by United Nations principal bodies.

We must continue to build on our success while remaining focussed on those we aim to serve – the vulnerable and victims of human rights abuse.

Together, we can achieve this and so much more.

Thank you for your attention.