Human Rights Council holds panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming and international cooperation

28 FEBRUARY 2012 | GENEVA

The Human Rights Council held a panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming and international cooperation.

In a video message, United Nations Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon said that the respect for human rights was a responsibility for all Member States and the United Nations system. Progress on rights built societies. The Secretary-General called on all to respond to the demands of people to enjoy their rights and live in dignity. Countries and organizations, including the World Health Organization’s Dr Flavia Bustreo took part in the panel.

At the 2005 World Summit, the Heads of State had explicitly supported the further integration of human rights into the work of the United Nations system while at the same time expressing resolve to integrate human rights into their own national policies. The outcomes of the Millennium Development Goals Review Summit in 2010 and the Least Developed Countries Conference in 2011 contained a rich catalogue of references to human rights and commitments to rights-based actions to accelerate the Millennium Development Goals achievement and to meet the special needs of the least developed countries, based on the human rights principles of equity, non-discrimination, participation and accountability.

Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in an opening statement, said an increasing number of United Nations agencies were not only integrating human rights into their internal policies, but had actively advocated for human rights through their mandated work. For United Nations country teams, human rights were no longer ‘add-ons’ to their long list of other priorities, but a foundation for more coherent and effective programming.

Jordan Ryan, Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, speaking as a panellist, said the United Nations Development Programme did not have a normative or monitoring mandate for human rights, but human rights had been an integral part of human development for nearly 20 years. Integrating human rights into development activities built more inclusive and just societies.

Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organization, speaking as a panellist, said the right to health was at the heart of fundamental freedoms. The World Health Organization supported Governments to use a human rights-based approach to improve people’s health by employing national health sector strategies as roadmaps for realizing the right to health.

Marie-Pierre Poirier, Regional Director for United Nations Children’s Fund, speaking as a panellist, said that as far back as the 1990s, the United Nations Children’s Fund had adopted a human rights based approach to its development cooperation in around 150 countries. Rights-based approaches were not one-size fits all. Good practices were home grown and rooted in national ownership.

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