Permanent Mission of Iceland to the UN
New York

10.04.2014

Human Rights Treaty Body system - Statement of Iceland

Statement at adoption of the draft resolution on

Strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system

 

by

H.E. Greta Gunnarsdottir, Permanent Representative of Iceland

and H.E. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia

 

 

 

H.E. Greta Gunnarsdottir, Permanent Representative of Iceland

 

Mr. President,

I am making this statement on behalf of the co-facilitators of the intergovernmental process on strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system, Iceland and Tunisia.

Mr. President,

The Secretary General has said, and I quote: “The United Nations human rights treaty body system, which combines noble ideals with practical measures to realize them, is one of the greatest achievements in the history of the global struggle for human rights. The treaty bodies stand at the heart of the international human rights protection system…”

Mr. President,

With this in mind it has been clear to us from the beginning how important it would be to conclude the process successfully, with a consensus among all Member States.   We believe that by adopting the resolution before us. L.37, we will indeed be strengthening and enhancing the system as the resolution carries significant changes and recommendations for improvement of the treaty body system:

·         It offers recommendations on how to improve the reporting process through such measures as list of issues prior to   reporting, common core documents, the interactive dialogue and the concluding observations.

·         It strengthens the visibility and accessibility of the treaty bodies through video-conferencing and webcasting, and other measures.

·         It reinforces the importance of the election process and the quality of the experts.

·         It puts in place efficiency measures that reduce the cost per week of meeting time for some treaty bodies close to half a million dollars or an increased cost efficiency of up to 45%.

·         It reinforces the importance of the independence of the treaty bodies and its members.

·         It provides for an evidence-based, realistic and justifiable allocation of meeting time for the treaty bodies and based on that model allocates around 20 additional weeks of meeting time, which is close to 30% increase in their meeting time.

·         It provides for a significantly strengthened capacity building component.

Mr. President, these are measurable achievements.

Allow me now to hand over to my fellow co-facilitator, Ambassador Mohamed Khaled Khiari.

 

H.E. Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Permanent Representative of Tunisia

Mr. President,

Allow me to continue on behalf of the co-facilitators of the intergovernmental process.

Mr. President,

The discussions that took place among Member States and other stakeholders during the process have also led to increased knowledge of this complex system among Member States here in New York and the dialogue among stakeholders has been a healthy exercise in itself. 

Allow me in that context to express the heartfelt appreciation of the co-facilitators for the contribution of Member States to the process. Though the negotiations were not easy they clearly demonstrated our common goal of strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty body system.

During the process the facilitators also benefitted from the expertise and experience of a number of treaty body members and had the opportunity to meet with most of the committees and the chairpersons of the treaty bodies on a number of occasions. These interactions have been invaluable and we would like to thank them for sharing their valuable experience with us.

Similarly, the facilitators have had a number of meetings with civil society and national human rights institutions and benefitted from their perspective on how to strengthen the treaty body system.  We are grateful for their contribution.

Finally, we would like to mention the contribution and support provided to the intergovernmental process by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her office. We are thankful for their tireless efforts in support of the treaty body system.

Mr. President,

It is clear that strengthening and enhancing the effective functioning of the human rights treaty bodies is an ongoing process. It is our hope that through the intergovernmental process the responsibility and accountability of each of the stakeholders has been strengthened through the draft resolution before us.   But our obligation towards the system does not end there.  After its adoption the focus has to be in its implementation and at the end of the day our success will be measured by the impact on the ground.    

I thank you Mr. President.



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