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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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On Agenda Item: Report of the Human Rights Council [64]

New York, 30 October 2009


In my statement at the opening of the General Debate, I had recalled the affirmation by the 2005 World Summit that the promotion and protection of human rights was one of the three principal purposes of this organization and stated that human rights stood, alongside development and peace and security, as ‘a pillar of the organization’.  I called on Member States to commit to ensuring that this third pillar was a pillar of stone, buttressed by the resources, respect and credibility, benefiting an institution dedicated to the cause of human dignity and justice. I asked for your support for the further development of the Human Rights Council, and for effective follow-up to the Durban Review Conference in combating the global scourge of racism. I appealed for an approach on human rights marked by universality and non-selectivity. The agenda before us today is a reminder of the significance of the principles of human rights but also of the vital need to assess the progress made and the remaining challenges in the attainment of those objectives.  

The Report of the Human Rights Council covers the remarkable scope and depth of the Council's work over the past year. This nascent body has already registered an impressive list of achievements, addressing the full range of human rights in countries all around the globe. New instruments have been developed, special sessions convened to address emergencies, and vital resolutions adopted.  The independent special procedures have undertaken countless missions, and the Universal Periodic Review is now in full operation, reminding us all of the universality of the human rights of all our citizens, the universality of the obligations of all our governments, and the universality of the challenges of realizing human rights. The broad participation that has characterized the Council's work, from members and observers alike, as well as from civil society, is a hallmark of its consultative approach.

Ensuring that the Council has the necessary support and resources is imperative for the successful continuation of its work, and this Assembly has the responsibility in that regard. As the Council approaches its mandated five-year review in 2011, we should develop an open and inclusive process. The Assembly must begin preparations in close cooperation with the Council.  To this end, I have met with the President of the Human Rights Council, and will continue consulting with delegations in the coming weeks.

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