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Statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Countries Interactive Dialogue with the President of the Human Right Council UNGA Third Committee 30 October 2020

Madam Chair,

I have the pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic Baltic countries, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Iceland.

We thank the President of the Human Rights Council for her presentation and for her extraordinary efforts in steering the Council in challenging times, most primarily because of the Covid 19 pandemic but also the financial constraints the Council is facing.

Madam President, with the support of your very capable bureau representing all regions, you have fulfilled the role given to the President in the Council´s founding resolutions and carried on the efforts of our last President, from Senegal, to steer its work in a neutral and unbiased way. Any claims by some of political favoritism should be rejected as baseless attempts to discredit the Council´s important work.

Madam Chair,

The Human Rights Council is not without faults and shortcomings. Too often states that get elected to the Council neglect to uphold its main mission: to protect and promote universal human rights. But on the whole, the Council regularly witnesses the best we can do in this field, with reports from the Council´s Special Procedures and mechanisms casting light on key human rights topics and situations – the urgent debate on the situation in Belarus at its last session being a clear example thereof -, and with all stakeholders participating in dialogues that advance the promotion and protection of human rights and prevent human rights violations.

However, we need to remain vigilant. The current crisis should never be taken as an excuse for undue restrictions on democracy or human rights, and we can see an effort to negate some of the important progress made both here in New York and in Geneva. 

Advancing the dignity and equality of all human beings, and leaving no one behind, must be our goal today and in the future. The Human Rights Council has a crucial role to play in advancing that global conversation on, and the respect for, human rights and fundamental freedoms; discussions that affect everyone and everywhere.

Thank you.


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