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New York, 17 June 2011

Distinguished delegates,

On the basis of the mandate given to us by this Assembly, the co-facilitators have engaged in a very intensive and inclusive process of formal and informal consultations which culminated in the draft resolution I am presenting to you today for adoption.

Today’s meeting is the conclusion of a coordinated process between Geneva and New York. Once the Human Rights Council adopted its outcome without a vote on 25 March, the process here in New York gained traction. From the beginning my aim was to replicate the consensus achieved in Geneva and to do the utmost to bring together different views and sensitivities.

In this regard, I would like to express my appreciation to my two distinguished co-facilitators, Ambassadors Mohamed Loulichki of Morocco and Christian Wenaweser of Liechtenstein, who shared this goal and chaired the process with skill and commitment. With a lot of patience and creativity, they explored every possible option to accommodate the different aspirations and concerns and I am very grateful to them for their enormous effort throughout the process.

My appreciation and gratitude also go to Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand, President of the Human Rights Council, whose leadership in steering the process to a successful conclusion in Geneva and in coordinating the efforts of the Council with our process was exemplary. Since Ambassador Phuangketkeow is ending his tenure as President of the Human Rights Council on Monday, I would at this point in time also like to congratulate him on the impressive achievements he secured throughout his Presidency.

Last but not least I would like to thank all the delegations who were actively engaged throughout the process of the review and who have shown a great deal of flexibility and cooperation. I am aware that some Ambassadors have played a particularly active role in support of the process, including up until today noontime, and I would like to thank them also very much for their efforts which I appreciate greatly.

We have now reached a decisive moment. I am encouraged by the very broad support that has emerged during the last few days for the text in front of you.

I strongly believe that this text is as close as possible to a broad consensus. I am fully aware that some of you would have liked a more ambitious outcome, while others would have wished for a purely procedural resolution. No Member State got everything it argued for. For many delegations, adopting the draft resolution today means compromising on issues they have felt – and still feel – strongly about.

While the draft resolution clearly reaffirms resolution 60/251 adopted in 2006 by this Assembly, it contains a number of technical improvements that the membership felt was necessary, on the basis of the practical experience we have gained over the five years of the Human Rights Council’s existence. The draft resolution proposes to align the cycle of the membership of the Council with the calendar year. It recognizes the role of the President of the Human Rights Council, it institutionalizes the ad hoc arrangement on the allocation of the report of the Council to both the plenary meeting and the third committee; and it recognizes the need to provide adequate financing to fund unforeseen and extraordinary expenses arising from resolutions by the Human Rights Council. Furthermore through this resolution we adopt the Geneva outcome of the review.

The technical nature of the improvements underlines that the great majority of Member States perceives the Human Rights Council as a strong and largely well functioning organ, and that a major institutional overhaul was neither required nor desirable at this stage.

Distinguished delegates,

When taking your decision on whether you want to approve this text, or not, I urge you to look at the text for what it is.

The review of the Human Rights Council is an ongoing process. The Council will keep improving its own work and functioning over the coming years while the General Assembly will conduct another review of the status in 10 to 15 years.

Today is the opportunity to send a strong signal of support to the Human Rights Council and to underline our shared commitment to human rights as one of the three main pillars of this organization.

I regret that a recorded vote has been requested on this resolution. This text is an honest attempt at reaching a middle ground and I call on all Member States to support the text as it is.

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