Testimony at the UN
UN Watch Oral Statement
UN Human Rights Council, 8th Session
Agenda Item 10: Technical assistance and capacity-building
Delivered by Daniel Kuhn
17 June 2008
With 4 Million Dead, Why Did UN Cancel Rights Inquiry on Congo?
Thank you, Mr. President.
UN Watch supports the Council’s task of promoting technical assistance and capacity-building. Central to the Council’s mandate is the promotion of human rights through international dialogue and cooperation as provided in General Assembly resolution 60/251.
How can the Council best assist countries and individuals most in need?
The most important vehicle for identifying such need, and for providing advisory services, technical assistance, and capacity-building, are the country mandates.
Under this agenda item, Council sessions benefit from interactive dialogues with a number of mandate-holders. These experts have demonstrated the value of their country mandates by identifying measures for improvement on the ground in the countries concerned.
In this regard, we note that Council resolution 7/20 of 27 March 2008 invited the High Commissioner to report to the Council next year on the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It further requested reports, by no later than the March 2009 session, from the experts on violence against women, on internally displaced persons, on the independence of judges and lawyers, on the right to health, on human rights defenders, and on children and armed conflict.
While we look forward to these reports, we deeply regret that the resolution failed to renew the country mandate for the DRC, a place where conflict over the last eight years has led to four million deaths.
On the subject of mandates, it has been calculated that rapporteurs have over 250 outstanding requests for visits. UN Watch takes this opportunity to call on all States to cooperate with the valuable special procedures of the Council. The first step is to honor their requests for visits. In particular, countries that do not regularly benefit from visits should be encouraged to see the merit of this form of human rights dialogue.
UN Watch would also like to acknowledge the importance of the work of the Office of the High Commissioner in providing technical assistance to developing countries.
Mr. President, the fundamental purpose of the Council’s work is to improve human rights situations on the ground. We must deliver real results in terms of improved implementation of international human rights standards and obligations.
We must ensure that the Council’s advice on technical assistance and capacity-building contribute to that goal, allowing governments to address their respective human rights challenges.
Thank you, Mr. President.