LDC-SIDS Trust Fund is key to promoting universalism

by Subhas Gujadhur Blog

On 27th March 2014, H.E. Ambassador Omar Hilale Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations delivered a cross regional statement on the operationalisation of Human Rights Council resolution 19/26 on ‘The Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to support the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council’.

Promoting universal access to and engagement with the international human rights system is vital in order to support the universalization of human rights. In this regard, the establishment of the LDC-SIDS Trust Fund in 2012, supported by a record number of states, was one of the most important institutional developments in the early history of the Human Rights Council.

The operationalization of the Trust Fund last year is therefore to be warmly welcomed, as is the call made in the cross regional statement led by the delegations of Morocco and the Netherlands, to effectively use the Fund to build capacity in LDCs and SIDS delegations so that they can better contribute to the important work of the Council.

The statement and the Trust Fund demonstrate the importance of dialogue and inclusivity in driving the work of the UN human rights system and engendering real change and improvements; an approach in line with the URG’s core values (the 8 Is).

URG analysts have made and will continue to make a strong contribution to the effective operationalization of the Trust Fund. URG congratulates and  looks forward to working with all those states that supported this week’s important statement, namely:

Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Bahrain, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Guinea Equatorial, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Libya, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC), Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen.

 

CROSS REGIONAL STATEMENT ON THE OPERATIONALISATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL RESOLUTION 19/26  “THE VOLUNTARY TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TRUST FUND TO SUPPORT THE PARTICIPATION OF LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES AND SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES IN THE WORK OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL”

ITEM 10,  27 March 2014

Mr President,

I am pleased to deliver the following statement on behalf of the delegations of Morocco, the Netherlands and 76 other delegations on their national capacity, in addition to the OIC group.

Two years ago this month, at the Council’s 19th session, 127 states came together to sponsor landmark resolution 19/26 establishing a Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the work of the Human Rights Council.

The resolution, supported by a record number of states,  empowers LDCs and SIDS to play a full and effective part in the work of the Human Rights Council and in the promotion and protection of human rights, including by assisting small delegations from developing countries to fulfil their responsibilities as members or observers of the Council.

Mr. President,

The voice of each country is worth listening to. The principle of sovereign equality of states, enshrined in the UN Charter, recognizes that all states are equal irrespective of their size, wealth, population or strength. With this in mind, and considering the Council’s mission to ‘promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner’, it is important for the Council and its mechanisms to promote universal participation and offer a level playing field for all states to engage fully and equally.

These were the principles and goals that underpinned the Council’s decision to establish the LDCs-SIDS trust fund. The trust fund would provide funding for: training and capacity-building, travel and accommodation to help capital-based officials travel to Geneva to participate in Council sessions, a fellowship program, and induction trainings for new diplomats. This would complement the existing UPR trust funds.

The sponsors of this statement are pleased to note that the new Technical Assistance Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the work of the Human Rights Council is now fully operational following the completion of necessary administrative procedures last July. We are also pleased to recognize that a number of donor states have already made contributions to the fund.

We also note, with appreciation, that in July of last year, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in collaboration with the Government of Mauritius organized a first ever UN seminar focused on facilitating the participation of Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries in the work of the Council and the UPR in Mauritius.

Without a doubt, holding such a seminar, which saw the participation around 30 policy makers from LDCs and SIDS, at the regional level in the Southern Hemisphere, was valuable as it provided an opportunity for the participants, including the host country, to exchange  experiences and common challenges on an equal footing, and to enhance their knowledge in order to fully engage with the Human Rights Council.  Such an approach tends to enhance South-South as well as North-South cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights, thereby leading to strengthening the universality of the Human Rights Council.

Mr. President,

On behalf of the delegations supporting this statement, my delegation would like to urge all states, developed and developing, to contribute to the new Trust Fund, thereby demonstrating the international community’s commitment to universality.

We would also request the OHCHR to take further steps, in partnership with interested institutions, to implement all of the key capacity building and technical assistance actions identified in the Fund’s terms of reference.

Finally, we encourage LDCs and SIDS to engage with and make full use of this important new Fund.

Our goal, over the coming months, must be to work together to ensure that the Trust Fund becomes a model example of states, OHCHR and other partners working together to strengthen human rights through cooperation.

Thank you Mr. President.

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