On 13 June, the Human Rights Council opened its thirty-second regular session, hearing an address by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in which he updated the Council on the activities of his Office.
High Commissioner Zeid stressed that the non-cooperation by some Governments would not result in the Office remaining silent in its scrutiny of their human rights situation and he urged every State to fully comply with international human right norms, particularly in situations of conflict.
Refugee law must also be respected, especially the principle of non-refoulement, and the countries of Europe had to find a way to address the current migration crisis in a manner that respected human rights, High Commissioner said. Another great concern was the narrowing of democratic space in many countries around the globe. At the same time Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein welcomed developments in some countries.
The Council also heard from representatives of Switzerland, Viet Nam, and Azerbaijan. The delegates recognized the enormous challenges in the world today, and stressed that more effort and resolution were needed to address terrorism, migration, and climate change, among others.
Speakers urged the recognition of the right to development as a stand-alone right, warned against the danger of dissolving it in the notion of mainstreaming, and said that the Agenda 2030 was a crucial tool to address exclusion and social inequalities in many countries.
Adapted from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)