A welcome lunch reception with the 2023 President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Václav Bálek and the former President, Ambassador Federico Villegas, took place at the offices of the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva, attended by Human Rights at Sea by invitation.
Led by ISHR, this was an occasion for civil society colleagues, human rights experts and diplomats to wish farewell to the outgoing Bureau in a relaxed setting and to greet the 2023 President of the Human Rights Council.
During the speeches, it was made clear that while the Council was busier than ever, it had responded to urgent issues without delay on matters around Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Ukraine while covering sensitive issues such as gender identity and sexual orientation.
Engagement with civil society was stated as remaining high on the agenda, with input from independent civil society necessary for its decision-making; it is a cornerstone resource for the Council.
In response, human rights defenders highlighted that for the Council to be credible and effective, it had to remain inclusive with civil society. Human rights defenders were being attacked, threatened and killed, and their protection must be a priority.
Further, there must be a push for better UN access, for remedies for victims and for the UN to publicly denounce incidences of reprisals against human rights defenders.
“Chronic underfunding of human rights in the UN”
Additionally, the consequences of the global pandemic and associated UN resourcing issues have seen what one speaker stated was “chronic underfunding of human rights in the UN”. It was pointed out that the pandemic had not helped human rights and had upset the wider funding of human rights work, investigations and the world agenda on human rights.
Meanwhile, more spaces are needed to discuss substantive agendas, which must include human rights protections at sea.
Source: Human Rights at Sea