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Statement on Draft Resolution on the Human Rights Treaty Body System in the Third Committee



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Action on 13 November 2020



by Mr. Agust Flygenring,

Permanent Mission of Iceland to the UN


Madame Chair,

I have the pleasure to introduce the draft resolution on the Human rights treaty body system contained in document A/C.3/75/L.39, under agenda item 72(a), tabled on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden -- the five Nordic countries -- and Belgium and Slovenia.

This is the third time this resolution is being presented in Third Committee. There is a very encouraging number of member states on the co-sponsorship list, which we believe proves that our approach has been successful in seeking consensus and broadened support for the resolution.

We would like to especially thank the member states who are already co-sponsors and invite all those who believe in the importance of an effective and efficient human rights treaty body system to join us, if they have not already done so.

The text before us today is very similar to the resolution adopted two years ago by the General Assembly as resolution 73/162. Only three noticeable changes were made to the text.


First, a new preamble paragraph (PP8) reads:


Recalling paragraph 41 of resolution 68/268, and in this regard welcoming the process of the consideration of the state of the human rights treaty body system and taking note of the report of the co-facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Morocco and Switzerland to the United Nations, to the President of the General Assembly.


As specified in a footnote to this paragraph, the report by the two co-facilitators it refers to was circulated by a letter of the President of the General Assembly at its 74th Session on 14 September 2020.


In consultations on this draft resolution, it was clear that the aforementioned process is indeed welcomed by most parties, and while differences exist on specific recommendations and conclusions, the continued work on the process enjoys wide range of support, as reflected in this resolution.


The second change is the removal of OP6 from the resolution adopted two years ago. This paragraph had recalled paragraph 22 of resolution 68/268 where, in principle, the General Assembly decided that the public meetings of the treaty bodies should webcast as soon as feasible. As this has now been addressed, there was, simply put, no need to retain the previous OP6 in this year’s resolution.


The third and last noticeable amendment is that the last operative paragraph, marked as OP9 in the draft before us, has been amended to reflect the ongoing process. It retains the reference to paragraph 40 of resolution 68/268, reiterating the General Assembly’s request that the Secretary-General submits what has become a biannual report on the status of the human rights treaty body system. The paragraph omits previous reference to paragraph 41 and the process, which is as previously mentioned, under way.


Madam Chair,


The ongoing pandemic has made this 75th session unprecedented for the Third Committee.


Like almost all aspects of our lives, we have had to learn how to tame our expectations and adapt to highly unusual circumstances.


Therefore, our approach from the outset was that we should retain and reinforce the principles of resolutions 68/268 and 73/162. We thank all the delegations for constructive cooperation on this, both in informal consultation and bilateral discussions.


By taking action on this draft resolution here and in the General Assembly with consensus, we will have managed this together.


Madame Chair, I thank you.


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