Excellencies, Madam Moderator, Fellow panelists and colleagues,
[ALL PROTOCOLS OBSERVED]
It is an honor to participate today at the second intersessional on the prevention of human rights violations. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the three Rapporteurs for the open consultative process that bring together multiple stakeholders across the system to see how we can move this agenda forward. I was pleased to engage in in-depth discussion during their mission to New York earlier this year.
Prevention is at the heart of UNDP’s mandate and preventive approaches are critical to sustain peace and protect and promote human rights and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We know that we will not achieve the SDGs in situations of violent conflict or where grievous human rights violations persist. We also know that the SDGs are a human rights agenda – they are grounded in human rights. Central to achieving the SDGs are human rights approaches and the imperative to leave no one behind.
Sine we all recognize the clear interlinkages between prevention and human rights and the SDGs, the point before us today: is how can the Council and its mechanisms and subsidiary bodies interact and cooperate with development actors with a view to preventing human rights violations and addressing, early, the conditions that lead to their rise.
I have three main messages to relay to you today:
Firstly, we need to build capacities of member states to meet their obligations and place more emphasis on closing the loop between the preventive work of the Council and mechanisms and work on the ground.
Item 10 of the Council agenda is on technical cooperation and we need to find ways to have more emphasis on support to countries to address risks and early warning for effective prevention. To prevent we need to consider contexts before they deteriorate. This requires technical dialogue, constructive engagement and cooperation with member states. We also need to consider good practices that exist in addressing challenges which may go beyond national borders.
The subsequent panel today on the peace and security pillar of the UN perhaps will reflect on the closer collaborative methods adopted of the Special Procedures with the Security Council. These approaches help improve collaboration and importantly, awareness of human rights issues. We don’t however, have consistent methodologies in relation to collaboration and information sharing of the Special Procedures or other mechanisms of the Council with the development pillar of the UN.
A good example of constructive engagement with a Council mechanism is the Working Group on Business and Human Rights. UNDP closely work together with the Working Group members to address demand received through UNDP programming to support governments and the private sector to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Secondly, to prevent serious violations we need to ensure there is strong civil society and strong national human rights systems.
The recent resolution adopted last month at the 42nd session of the Council affirms the importance of effective preventive measures as a part of overall strategies for the promotion and protection of all human rights. It also recognizes the critical role of National Human Rights Institutions contributing to the prevention of human rights violations and encourages States to strengthen the mandate and capacity of such institutions - to enable them to fulfil this role effectively in accordance with the Paris Principles.
UNDP works with National Human Rights Institutions as critical actors in prevention. However, progress towards establishment of NHRIs is too slow. Only 7 countries have established ‘A’ status NHRIs since 2015 and at the current rate, only 54 percent will have these critical institutions by 2030. We request the Council and its mechanisms to support and emphasize the role these vital institutions can play along with promoting and protecting the role of civil society particularly in the context of increased reprisals against human rights defenders.
Thirdly and lastly, to advance prevention, we suggest that the Council and its mechanisms needs to more proactively link and frame the discussions on human rights more proactively with the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a common aspiration for all peoples and also a critically important preventive tool that all member states have adopted and all UNCTs are geared to support. In the aftermath of conflict, the SDGs, enabled by SDG16, can prevent against relapse and recurrence of violence and violations.
Earlier this year, I was pleased to represent UNDP at the intersessional on dialogue and cooperation for human rights and the 2030 Agenda. The increase in the focus of the SDGs by the Human Rights mechanisms is welcome. I would like to propose a few practical ways to advance the interaction. One is on the Special Procedures. The Special Procedures mandate holders increasingly engage with UNCTs during their country visits. It would be useful to establish a systematic interaction between them so that the UN and Member States can properly act and plan for risks and violations identified by the Special Procedures.
Another way to increase the interlinkage is the UPR. With 100 percent of member states participating, this is an important mechanism for dialogue and is often the central human rights engagement tool of the UN. However, too often UPR follow up is siloed and not linked to development planning and programming. This undermines the full potential of the UPR.
We need to better integrate UPR follow up with development planning, conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including transitional justice and SDG localization strategies consistently. To help to achieve this, we need to invest in practical strategies to share UPR findings and encourage development practitioners and partners to use them in design and implementation of projects, policies, programmes and initiatives such as National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security. For this purpose, UNDP has produced a Handbook to support parliamentarians in implementing the SDGs which emphasizes the importance of UPR recommendations in all that they do to inform and elicit accountability for action.
We need to specifically scale-up the examples of where mechanisms, such as the UPR and Treaty Bodies, inform SDG Voluntary National Review processes and vice versa, as we have supported in Paraguay. We are working with OHCHR on supporting governments to unite SDG and human rights reporting systems, holding regional workshops in Cape Verde last November and in Panama later this month.
Addressing challenges and supporting progress requires national ownership and a partnership approach with governments, civil society, and the private sector, and also within the UN itself. UNDP aspires to act as the ‘integrator’ in the UN system, connecting issues and partners to support countries in accelerating progress across the SDGs and in promoting human rights. The approach should be inevitably integrated one across all pillars of the UN. With only 10 years remaining we have no time for silo’s in the system to achieve the transformative change promised by the 2030 Agenda.