Dec 13 2019
Past event

First expert-level dialogue on the creation of an HRC Membership Contact group in NYC

The Human Rights Council Membership Contact Group in Geneva is an informal cross-regional group of friends supported by the Geneva office of Universal Rights Group. The contact group endeavours to strengthen universality, inclusivity and diversity at the Council by encouraging States with a demonstrable commitment to human rights and democracy, especially Small States that have yet to serve on the Council, to stand for election.

In this past Human Rights Council election, three States who have never served on the Council before, the Marshall Islands, Sudan and Armenia, were elected to the Council. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like the Marshall Islands, and members of the Least Development Countries (LDCs) group, like fellow newly elected members of the Council, Sudan and Mauritania, are historically underrepresented at the Council. Yet the importance of having SIDS and LDCs at the Council was recently recognised by Human Rights Council President Coly Sek in his presentation to the Third Committee in New York on 1 November. He commended efforts by Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and SIDS to participate in the Council, noting that the Special Trust Fund for these groups allowed for the involvement of 33 delegates from 32 of such countries, including 11 SIDS that do not have permanent representation in Geneva. He encouraged more States to contribute funds to allow for the ‘essential contribution of these States’ to the work of the Council.

This lunch meeting on 13 December, kindly hosted by the UK Mission to the UN and cosponsored by the Maldives Mission to the UN, the Netherlands Mission to the UN, and the New York Office of Universal Rights Group, will serve as an opportunity for a dialogue between representatives of the member States who participate as part of the contact group in Geneva, in addition to a few others, to consider creating a similar contact group on Council Membership in New York. The meeting will feature a presentation by URG Director, Marc Limon, on the work of the contact group in Geneva.

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