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Published on Dec 7, 2016
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
General debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner under agenda item 2 – Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
Delivered by Ms. Alessia Vedano
Thank you Mr. President,
We would like to thank the High Commissioner for his report and join his urgent appeals to Member States to grant access to the OHCHR over their territories. We believe this is essential for the protection and promotion of human rights.
However, even where the access is granted, a mere “UN presence” is not enough. All countries need to engage with the mechanism in a genuine, impartial manner and in the best interest for human rights.
Unfortunately, we have witnessed many instances in which this does not occur. Iraq is perhaps a striking example of this. Despite that the country formally cooperates with the UN, the human rights violations occurring on ground are increasing rather than diminishing.
Although the UN has welcomed the establishment of an Iraqi commission of inquiry regarding the grave violations committed in Fallujah by state-affiliated militias, mainly Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi, so far, these investigations have led to nothing. We therefore demand the Human Rights Council to establish an independent commission of inquiry and the Iraqi Government to fully cooperate with this without further delay.
Moreover, we are concerned with the increasingly worrying issues of racism across the world, and, at the meantime, with the decreased attention of the UN on this matter.
We are worried for the reduction of resources for the anti-racism activities of the OHCHR, and believe that it was inappropriate of the Office to remain silent on the 15th Anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA).
The silence around important international instruments for the protection against all forms of racism and xenophobia means depriving many victims of the protection they need during this time of crisis. We call on the OHCHR to help prepare a multiyear outreach programme for the DDPA mobilization to be adopted by the Council and to commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the DDPA with the high visibility it deserves.