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Intervention by Estonia at the UN Human Rights Council 35th Session under Item 2


UN Human Rights Council 35th Session



Intervention by ESTONIA



Item 2 – Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

General segment


Geneva, 7 June 2017



Mr President,

Mr High Commissioner,


Estonia fully aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union. We would like to thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office for his oral update and for bringing to our attention the most urgent human rights violations. We will not comment here on various reports or country situations before the Council and will instead do so under other agenda items. I would however use this opportunity to raise some other important questions.


Estonia would like highlight the need for more emphasis on prevention, early warning and effective response from the Council. The national human rights institutions (NHRIs), NGOs and human rights defenders have a crucial role in this context, as their experience and expertise on the ground level are valuable contribution to the Council’s preventive efforts. For this reason, we need to create and safeguard the space to enable their work. This is a way to meaningfully contribute to the prevention of human rights violations and promptly respond to human rights emergencies. At the same time we emphasize the role of the field presence of the OHCHR in providing information on the ground. We welcome the appointment of Andrew Gilmour as the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights - to lead the efforts to stop intimidation and reprisals within the UN system.


Furthermore, human rights need to be mainstreamed in all of our activities in the United Nations, as human rights are both a means and the end of development. Human rights are central to the achievement of the sustainable development goals. Thus, we need to take common steps to realize the human rights of all. Reminding the statement by the High Commissioner at the 34th session – either we are all together or we fall together.


We would like to ask the High Commissioner, what can the Council do to increase the effectiveness of the prevention in addressing the human rights protection, and what, possibly new, tools and mechanisms are needed for this?


Thank you.


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