Delivered on 28 June 2018
Delivered by Ms. Aishath Shahula, First Secretary,Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva
Thank you Mr. President,
In June of 2007, the HRC adopted its “Institution-Building Package (IBP),” which establishes the foundation for how this Council conducts itself, in order to promote and protect human rights. These mechanisms, procedures, and structures form the basis of our work. However, along with the IBP, we also have a number of traditions and practices inherited from the Council’s predecessor. These traditions often do not represent the universality of the Council, with a focus on exclusivity that tends to leave small nations at a disadvantage. Without any kind reform, these practices can still be curtailed, and the true spirt of the Council can be brought to light.
The HRC Efficiency Process, which is currently on-going, can give guidance to ensure that the voices of small nations like Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are not lost. We can ensure that greater transparency and coherence are prioritized so that the Council continues to evolve according to the principles upon which the United Nations was founded. Though we continually espouse the importance of the universal representation and equal participation of all nations, this is not translated into reality. Though we have all committed to ensure no one is left behind, we do not actively ensure the same in the Governance of this Council.
Given the intergovernmental nature of the Human Rights Council, as a subsidiary body of the United Nations, all Member States of the United Nations should have an equivalent time to speak and state their policy positions, especially over non-State observers of the Council. Further, imperative that for the sake of transparency, accountability, and in the spirit of multilateralism that informal consultations on resolutions also include the circulation of compilation texts following those informals.
Though inadequate time for such consultations does remain a concern, the fact that we collectively and actively choose to be opaque in our working methods is not excusable.
Providing opportunities for equal representation and participation of all Member States, including SIDS and LDCs, is fundamental for incorporating human rights in our sustainable development plans. That 17 SIDS still lack permanent representation in Geneva, is all the more reason that transparency at this Council must be our highest priority. In the meantime, we would recommend that video delivery of statements for SIDS without permanent missions in Geneva, who choose to do so, be facilitated.
Resolutions define our normative perceptions of major human rights issues, and consultations on them should be a process that every nation has an opportunity to contribute to equally. Universal representation should coincide with universal participation.
Thank you, Mr. President.