"In Larger Freedom".  "Cluster III": "Freedom to Live Dignity"
Statement by Ambassador Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN
 New York, April 20, 2005


Mr. Facilitator,

In the informal consultations we hold today I would like to address some of the concepts and ideas contained in the chapter “Freedom to live in dignity” of the Secretary-General’s report “In larger freedom”. The Brazilian Government is examining with attention and interest the recommendations in this field.

We concur with the Secretary-General that we must persevere in the path towards strengthening the rule of law at the international and national levels, increasing the importance and structure of the human rights machinery and supporting efforts to establish and deepen democracy all over the world. As the SG has stressed in paragraph 132, “we must move from an era of legislation to an era of implementation”.

On the rule of law, the report affirms that nowhere is the distance between rhetoric and reality so stark as in the field of international humanitarian law. Indeed, in most contemporary conflicts humanitarian law is either neglected or deliberately breached. If there is an over-widening gap between existing international norms and respect for such norms, law must be translated into concrete action. In our view, the General Assembly could examine in detail the new concept of a “collective responsibility to protect”.

Furthermore, the international community has an important role to play in the fight against impunity, in order to guarantee that flagrant and widespread human rights abuses do not go unpunished. Brazil has wholeheartedly supported the creation of the International Criminal Court as a permanent and independent tribunal to promote the rule of law in case States do not fulfill their duty to exercise the criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes. Now that the Court is in full activity and is becoming able to provide long-term and robust deterrence, the confidence we have placed in its effectiveness should be borne out.

Mr. Facilitator,

Brazil has a historic and sound commitment to human rights, democracy and the rule of law. We are parties to all main human rights treaties and we have significantly cooperated with and benefited from the international human rights machinery.  It is in this context that we welcome the proposals contained in the report of the SG towards the strengthening of the system. We believe that the debate on this issue is also necessary and positive and we intend to actively participate in the exercise.

The proposal to establish a Human Rights Council deserves careful consideration. A deeper reflection should encompass specific questions, such as its possible nature, composition and functions, as well as the interaction with the States and other UN bodies. A discussion on the issue should also take into account the very fact that the special procedures of the Commission on Human Rights represent a fundamental contribution for the promotion and protection of human rights, given their independent and impartial character, and they must be preserved in any case. We also recognize the value of openness for interaction with civil society, which must be equally preserved. It will be important to define, in a new structure, the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In this respect, we support the call of the Secretary-General to strengthen, within the possibilities the Office of the High Commissioner. In our view, the OHCHR has a central role to play in the promotion and protection of human rights and it should be invigorated not only in its activities of monitoring, but also in those related to technical cooperation. Brazil shares the conviction of the SG that it is necessary to increase the financing of the Office, which should be done primarily through more allocation of regular budget resources, but also through unearmarked voluntary contributions.

With respect to the treaty bodies, Brazil agrees with the important observations contained in the report. There is sufficient room for improving their methods of work, especially in what concerns the presentation and evaluation of reports.

On the proposal that the High Commissioner should play a more active role in the deliberations of the Security Council, Brazil understands that further deepening of such relationship should be considered with caution, with the special preoccupation to avoid inadequate misunderstandings between the mandates of both bodies, and in particular the functions and powers of the General Assembly. Anyhow, this relationship must be seriously taken into account in cases where situations of threat or breach of international peace and security are associated with human rights questions.

Mr. Facilitator,

In addition to the recommendations contained in the report, Brazil considers the proposal for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a global report on the situation of human rights all over the world a most useful instrument towards improving the UN human rights system. We are convinced that a global report, as recognized by the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, will significantly contribute to guarantee the effectiveness and credibility of the system.

Finally, I would like to underscore that “we will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights”.

Thank you very much, Mr. Facilitator.