Statement of the Caucus Human Rights/Conflict Prevention, delivered by Amb. Leendertse, at the third OCA consultation on February 21st, 2022

Logo of the report and ensuing consultation process Our Common Agenda by Secretary-General Guterres

Logo: Our Common Agenda, © UN

21.02.2022 - Speech

As Co-chair of the Caucus for Human Rights and Conflict Prevention, German Amb. Leendertse delivered this joint Statement on behalf of the Caucus. Topic of thematic consultation: “Frameworks for a peaceful world – promoting peace, international law and digital cooperation.”

I am delivering these remarks on behalf of the Human rights/Conflict Prevention Caucus New York, co-chaired by Germany and Switzerland, and its members Albania, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Gabon, Guatemala, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Uruguay.

Multidimensional challenges faced by the international community require an equally multifaceted response. The Caucus recognizes the importance of close cooperation between different UN actors and encourages an effective cooperation between the three UN pillars to strengthen the UN's conflict-prevention capacities. In the interest of achieving a peaceful world, it is about time to maximise the resources of the international community to promote peace and sustainable development, protect human rights and prevent conflict more effectively. To this end, we strongly encourage the organs of the United Nations to make full use of their mandates and the tools at their disposal. For example, through the exchange of information between the Security Council, the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.

The Peacebuilding Commission plays an important convening role. It contributes to strengthening the participation of peacemakers and civil society actors, while providing a space for discussion on cross-cutting challenges. We believe that an expansion of its role, as suggested by the Secretary-General, can enhance closer cooperation between the different UN bodies and mechanisms to overcome silos, to strengthen system-wide responses and preventive measures. We therefore encourage an exchange of information between the Commission and any entity contributing to conflict prevention and peacebuilding, including the Human Rights Council and regional organizations. In that regard, we would like to underline that the Human Rights Council has extended an invitation for a yearly briefing to the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission and encourage the Chair to seize this opportunity.

We support the SG’s initiative in launching the Call to Action for Human Rights as integrated in Our Common Agenda and are committed to work together - including through making human rights commitments a reference point in the design and delivery of crisis prevention initiatives. By doing all this, we can unleash the full preventive potential the UN has to offer. Our Common Agenda gives us a new opportunity to foster these efforts.

The respect for the rule of law is also indispensable for lasting peace. We cannot talk about peace and security without upholding the promotion and protection of human rights and ensuring accountability for human rights violations and atrocity crimes. Building peace further requires a safe and inclusive environment for civil society. We must address the increasing number of reprisals against human rights defenders, the global shrinking civic space and attacks on freedom of expression, association and assembly.

In contexts marked by violence and conflict, inclusive and comprehensive transitional justice processes can help societies to rebuild fragmented relationships and trust in institutions and appropriately address the past. Through its focus on the rights of victims and survivors as well as the accountability of perpetrators, it is a powerful instrument to prevent the recurrence of violence.

We acknowledge the disproportionate impact of COVID19 on human mobility, leaving many refugees and migrants stranded in very vulnerable conditions and therefore lacking access to basic services such as health, work, social security, housing and education. The solutions to these problems are diverse. We note the references contained in the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in this regard.

It is indisputable that systematic human rights violations are an early indicator of conflict on the one hand, and that respect for human rights can prevent conflict and contribute to sustainable peace on the other. As a cross-regional group of Member States, the Caucus stands ready to work with all member states, civil society, human rights defenders, and the entire UN system to address cross-cutting issues on peace and security from a prevention and human rights perspective with effectiveness and accountability.

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