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NAM calls for greater coordination between HRC and OHCHR

Non-Aligned Movement is committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights without discrimination. The Movement has strived for the improvement and enhancement of international human rights mechanism. The 18th NAM Ministerial Conference in Baku held in April 2018 “reaffirmed the significant importance the Movement attaches to the promotion and protection of human rights and commitment to fulfil obligations to promote universal respect for, and observance and protection of all universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the UN Charter, other core International Human Rights instruments, as appropriate, and international law”.

The growth in United Nations human rights activities has paralleled the increasing strength of the international human rights movement and the number of United Nations human rights bodies have been established to respond to changing human rights challenges.

In this context, Non-Aligned Movement has called for a greater coordination between Human Rights Council (HRC) and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). A brief introduction of the structure and functions of the two bodies may be mentioned before discussing NAM’s position on this subject. The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. It consists of 47 United Nations Member States, which are elected by UN General Assembly.

The 27 NAM Countries currently members of the 47-member HRC are Afghanistan (2020), Angola (2020), Burundi (2018), Chile (2020), Côte d’Ivoire (2018), Cuba (2019), Democratic Republic of the Congo (2020), Ecuador (2018), Egypt (2019), Ethiopia (2018), Iraq (2019), Kenya (2018), Mongolia (2018), Nepal (2020), Nigeria (2020), Pakistan (2020), Panama (2018), Peru (2020), Philippines (2018), Qatar (2020), Rwanda (2019), Saudi Arabia (2019), Senegal (2020), South Africa (2019), Togo (2018), Tunisia (2019), United Arab Emirates (2018), and Venezuela (2018). HRC meets at the UN office in Geneva and discusses all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year. OHCHR is the the principal human rights official of the United Nations. It’s functioning includes strengthening international human rights mechanisms; enhancing equality and countering discrimination; combating impunity and strengthening accountability and the rule of law; integrating human rights in development and in the economic sphere; widening the democratic space; and early warning and protection of human rights in situations of conflict, violence and insecurity.

NAM has stressed the need to develop effective working relationship between the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in line with the spirit of General Assembly resolution 48/141 of 20th December 1993. Resolution 48/141, which created the OHCHR, states that the promotion and the protection of all human rights is one of the priorities of the international community and emphasizes the need for the promotion and protection of all human rights should be guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, in the spirit of constructive international dialogue and cooperation. Resolution 48/141 called upon the OHCHR to enhance international cooperation for the promotion and protection of all human rights; to coordinate the human rights promotion and protection activities throughout the United Nations system and to rationalize, adapt, strengthen and streamline the United Nations machinery in the field of human rights with a view to improving its efficiency and effectiveness.

NAM has further stressed that HRC should have an oversight role in reviewing the work of OHCHR, including its activities under country engagement and establishing its field offices, as well as those related to its advisory services, technical and financial assistance and capacity building’s activities, while ensuring the full respect of its mandate as defined in resolution 48/141.

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava


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