C3: Interactive dialogue on UNHCR

Last updated: 11/6/2013 // This statement was held by Deputy Permanent Representative Tine Mørch Smith in an interactive dialogue with Third Committee on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

First, Norway would like to express our strong support for the work of the High Commissioner for Refugees and commend your efforts to provide assistance and protection to millions of people in need. Your staff continues to provide life-saving and critical assistance under increasingly dangerous conditions, often risking their own lives.

A major concern for Norway is the serious protection challenges in several crises today. Targeted attacks against the civilian population are widespread and the lack of respect for basic international humanitarian law is an extremely worrying trend. These attacks include killing, torture and the use of rape and sexual violence against women and girls, and also against men and boys. We are particularly concerned about the ongoing attacks against civilians in the Syrian crisis, but would also like to point to other serious crises where the affected population continues to pay a high price, with far less international attention, such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

We would further want to point to the urgency of providing timely humanitarian access. Millions of people are unable to receive the lifesaving assistance and protection they need, such as food, shelter and health care, because UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies are denied access. As winter approaches in many affected areas, this is particularly worrying.

What is needed to be able to provide more protection to girls, boys, women and men who are affected by complex humanitarian crises, such as the one in Syria? And more specifically, what more can UNHCR do to protect women and girls from sexual violence?

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