Commission on Human Rights
Sixty-First Session
Informal meeting on the human rights issues contained in the Report of the Secretary-General entitled " In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for all "

Joint Statement
by H.E. Ambassador Doru Costea
Permanent representative of Romania

Geneva, 12 April 2005

Mr. Chairman,

I have the particular pleasure to make this statement on behalf of Bulgaria, and Romania, Acceding Countries, and Croatia, Candidate Country to the European Union, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates to the European Union.

1. We welcome the report of the Secretary-General, in particular for the central place it gives to human rights in the whole structure of the report and in its section IV "Freedom to live in dignity" where the protection and promotion of the universal values of the rule of law, human rights and democracy are considered of utmost importance. It is a crucial statement, in full harmony with the fundamental goals and objectives of the United Nations and with the new challenges brought by globalisation.

2. We share the view of the Secretary-General that the protection and promotion of human rights should be confirmed as a main priority of the United Nations, along with the questions of security and development.

3. We agree that the system built for the protection of human rights at the international level is under strain. This should not be seen as a testimony of inherent weakness, but rather as the effect of its own development. The strain is the result of the entering into force of more human rights instruments, of the increasing in the number of state-parties to them, of the expansion of specific human rights fields protected by the United Nations, of the increase in number of human rights mechanisms. This is a token of force.

4. What is, indeed a weakness, is the lack of resources that are allotted to the support of normative and political efforts dedicated to promoting and defending human rights. The Office of the High Commissioner needs more support for the activities undertaken at headquarters, and for the strengthening of the human rights presence in the field.

5. We strongly support the proposal of mainstreaming human rights into decision-making and discussion throughout the work of the Organization. We would favour in particular the integration of human rights issues into the debates and decisions of the Security Council. In particular, we believe that human rights, democracy and the rule of law should effectively become an issue for consideration, action and resources in all UN peace operations and in all post-conflict situations.

6. We recognize the need to strengthen the comprehensive human rights treaty bodies system. It is indeed high time to overcome the status quo and make a collective effort to avoid duplication of reporting requirements and the unification of the system, including by harmonized guidelines which should lead to simplification, streamlining and focus on implementation.

7. As to the proposed transformation of the Commission on Human Rights into a smaller standing Human Rights Council we have the following comments:

  • The idea of a standing body is a good one. Reality shows that, currently, throughout the year, the human rights agenda is full of events. A standing body would have also the opportunity to react promptly and specifically to situations of massive and systematic human rights violations in any parts of the world.
  • We agree with the recommendation of the Secretary-General that those elected in the Council should undertake to abide by the highest human rights standards. Yet, we see this very recommendation quite appropriate for implementation in relation to the Commission of Human Rights. This principle should be as valid now and tomorrow as it was in 1946, when the Commission had only 9 members.
  • We are not sure that the concern expressed in paragraph 182 of the report of the Secretary-General will be responded properly, if we just transform an elected body into a new elected body, without agreeing on minimum standards that could be used in the elections process.
  • We welcome the bold proposal of the Secretary-General to make the new body a principal organ of the United Nations. The relevance of human rights, rule of law and democracy for the global developments, including for matters of security and development, makes a very consistent agenda and deserves to be dealt with by a higher profile body.
  • Finally, if there is an agreement to end the Commission on Human Rights and give life to a new body, we have to clearly spell out that the Commission did not fail, but successfully accomplished a historical monumental work starting with the original matrix, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. The creation of a new body may only be an expression of a necessary adaptation to an environment marked by the existence of more human rights norms and of more States willing to protect and promote them.

Our delegations support the statement delivered by Luxemburg, on behalf of the European Union.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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