Let me start by thanking the President of the Human Rights Council for presenting the report.
Promotion and protection of human rights is one of the principal aims of the UN and, together with the promotion of peace and security, constitutes one of the pillars upon which the UN was founded. Norway is therefore honoured to be a member of the Human Rights Council.
A reinvigorated vision for human rights was at the heart of the Secretary General’s agenda for UN reform which the World Summit endorsed in 2005. The Human Rights Council was created to strengthen the UN human rights machinery.
Norway took active part in the negotiations of General Assembly resolution 60/251 establishing the Council and in the negotiations of the Institutional Building-package. We are also actively participating in the ongoing review of the Council.
In the day to day work of the Council we have aimed at working constructively with partners from all regions and groups to raise the credibility, effectiveness and visibility of the Council. We have done so through making full use of the existing system.
In assessing the Council, we would like to highlight both important achievements – some of which can be further improved – and shortcomings.
Among the key achievements is in our view the almost standing nature of the Council. By meeting regularly throughout the year in three regular sessions, the Council has the ability to address human rights situations timely and effectively.
We also view the UPR as a success. If used to its full potential – it can close the implementation gap. It can bring the work of the UN and the Council to the field – to right-holders and victims, in partnership with Governments.
The system of Special Procedures continues to be the “jewel of the crown”. The Review Rationalisation and Improvement-process of the Council has worked well. The visibility, relevance and impact of the system of special procedures have been improved through the UPR as well as through the almost standing nature of the Council.
Promoting mainstreaming of human rights within the UN system is an essential part of the Council’s mandate (OP3 of GA res 60/251) and is fundamental to achieving the goals of UN reform. The Council should devote more time to its mainstreaming mandate.
A key shortcoming is the selectivity in dealing with urgent situations. Human rights violations in some parts of the world trigger immediate reaction by the Council – violations in other parts of the world are met with complete silence. This remains a fundamental shortcoming and affects the credibility of the Council in all issues. We need objectivity and clearly defined thresholds for action.
We are looking forward to a continued inclusive and transparent review process – in the Council and in the GA.