61st Session of the General Assembly
Informal Consultations of the Plenary on the United Nations
System-wide Coherence - Human Rights
H.E. Ambassador João Salgueiro
Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations
on behalf of the European Union
New York, 24 July 2007
Madam High Commissioner for Human Rights,
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
The EU would like to thank the Co-Chairs for convening this meeting and to the High Commissioner for her presence and for sharing her views on the recommendations of the Report of the High-level Panel on United Nations System-wide Coherence in this first dialogue on human rights issues.
Undeniably, a considerable gap exists between the substantial body of UN human rights instruments and standards that have been developed throughout the years and their implementation for the real benefit of individuals. The EU fully shares the assessment by the High-level Panel that there is a necessity for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, working with Resident coordinators and UN country teams, to bridge this gap by supporting the implementation by Member States of their human rights obligations and commitments.
In this respect, we welcome the recommendations in the High-level Panel Report as we consider them a necessary contribution to improve the further mainstreaming of human rights in the work of the UN, including at country level. This should not be seen as an attempt to introduce a new conditionality in the delivery of international development assistance. On the contrary, this will enable the UN to deliver its assistance more effectively and to strengthen the capacities of Governments, relevant institutions, civil society and individuals in the human rights’ field.
We all agree that Human Rights are, together with Peace and Security and Development, the pillars of the United Nations and an integral part of its activity. And we all gave unprecedented political support to the further mainstreaming of human rights in the work of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit.
In December 2006, we adopted by consensus the Biennial programme plan and priorities of the UN for 2008-2009 (A/61/6/Rev.1) where it is clearly affirmed that the Organization should have as an objective “to advance the promotion and protection of human rights and to further integrate human rights and their gender dimension into all relevant areas of work of the United Nations system”.
The EU fully supports the role envisaged by the High-level Panel for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office to lead the effort on human rights protection, to ensure coordination between the resident coordinator system and the UN special procedures and mechanism and to contribute to a UN human rights’ based approach to programming for the entire UN system. This is in fact in line with what your Office, Madam High Commissioner, has already been doing following the Plan of Action you have presented in 2005 and the launching of the Action 2 Programme. We therefore see these recommendations as a further recognition of the right direction in which your Office has been conducting its work.
Human rights are a fundamental part of the United Nations and the momentum is here to ensure that they become also a guiding principle and an integral element of the work of every single individual at this Organization.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.