United Nations General Assembly
Agenda item: 73
Human rights questions
STATEMENT BY MS.OCHIR ENKHTSETSEG,
DIRECTOR-GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
2 November 2005
The centrality of human rights to the broader mission of the United Nations was undoubtedly reaffirmed by the world leaders at the September Summit. The strong commitment of the international community to the protection and promotion of all human rights was clearly demonstrated by the resolve of the world leaders to reinforce the UN human rights machinery through creation of a Human Rights Council, to strengthen the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by, inter alia, doubling its regular budget resources over the next five years, to improve effectiveness of the HR treaty bodies as well as support the further streamlining of human rights throughout the UN system activities.
Underlying principles and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the body of norms and standards, developed since the inception of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, have been widely accepted by member states and recognized in international law. Yet we cannot but agree with the High Commissioner that as the normative framework of rights is largely in place, the central challenge today is to translate these rights into reality by bridging the implementation gaps at the national level.
Against this backdrop my delegation welcomes the shift of the focus towards national implementation of human rights commitments envisaged in the Plan of Action of the OHCHR. Mongolia commends the leadership demonstrated by High Commissioner Ms. Louise Arbour in furthering the three core priorities identified in the Plan of Action, namely country engagement, leadership and partnerships.
As holders of primary responsibility for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms of their citizenry Statesí role in ensuring the implementation of human rights commitments cannot be overemphasized. However, in light of a broad range of human rights challenges facing the international community, including wide-spread poverty, discrimination, armed conflict and violence, democratic deficits and institutional weaknesses, the efforts of Member States ought to be supported more substantively through technical assistance and advisory services aimed, inter alia, at capacity-building and human rights education.
As a state party to over 30 international human rights treaties and conventions, including the seven core human rights treaties, Mongolia stands committed to the promotion and protection of all human rights. Since the adoption of its Constitution of 1992, which promulgated a whole new chapter devoted to the protection of human rights, Mongolia has been actively engaged in carrying out an extensive legal reform aimed at bringing the body of national laws in line with the international standards. The reform has envisaged both the revision of existing laws, including the Criminal Code and Civil Code, labor relations, taxation as well as enactment of new standards related to public administration, NGOs, privatization of state property and land, operation of business enterprises etc. This extensive exercise has laid down, by and large, sound legal background for the protection and promotion of human rights.
In addition, the adoption by the Parliament of the Law on the National Human Rights Commission and its subsequent establishment back in 2001 in accordance with the Paris Principles constituted an important step in promoting human rights. The National Human Rights Commission in cooperation with the Government hosted the Tenth Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of national human rights Institutions last August in Ulaanbaatar. The participants agreed, inter alia, to set up a working group of the Forum to develop draft guidelines designed to strengthen the application of the Paris Principles in the context of the Asia-Pacific region.
Furthermore, National Human Rights Action Program, pursuant to the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action, was adopted in 2003 as a result of all-inclusive participatory consultations involving various strata of human rights holders, including from the grassroots. The Program is a main policy document that aims at improving capacity and accountability of the authorities, enhancing participation of civil society, mass media and private sector, and encouraging public motivation for strengthening human rights protection and combating their violations. Since its adoption, various activities were carried out aimed at furthering the judiciary reform and administration of justice, promoting human rights education and capacity building of law enforcement agencies and local administration authorities.
As part of advocacy of human rights a special edition of the official legislation bulletin, containing all conventions on human rights joined by Mongolia, was published and widely distributed among governmental and non-governmental organizations, including law enforcement agencies.
All in all, it could be summed up that political commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights along with standard-setting are largely in place in Mongolia. However, as was rightly pointed out by the High Commissioner no human rights record is perfect. The implementation of human rights commitments in my country is hampered mostly by two combined gaps, i.e. knowledge gap and capacity gap that are further hindered by high vulnerability of our economy to external shocks, poverty, shortage of resources, particularly needed for ensuring the protection of economic, social and cultural rights. Furthermore, emerging trans-boundary threats such as spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, human trafficking, migration and others require an adequate collective response based on effective regional and international cooperation. In this regard, my delegation welcomes the activities envisaged by the High Commissioner to enhance country engagement and develop effective partnerships to help ensure protection and promotion of human rights at the national level. Mongolia stands committed to actively continue its cooperation with the OHCHR with a view to bridging the existing implementation gaps for the enjoyment of all human rights.
The report of the Secretary-General on the effective implementation of international instruments on human rights pointed out to the ongoing substantive debate among the Member States to find out the best ways to increase the effectiveness of the human rights mechanisms. We believe that the reporting and monitoring system is vital to the implementation of human rights. In this regard, my delegation regards the revised draft harmonized guidelines, prepared by OHCHR, as an important tool for improving the reporting obligations of State Parties. My delegation is in favor of further enhancing the assistance provided by OHCHR to member States in meeting their reporting obligations as well as in following up on the recommendations of the relevant committees as it remains as an important and effective tool to the implementation of human rights standards at the national level. We also note with interest the proposal by the High Commissioner to explore ways of setting up a unified standing treaty body together with relocation of CEDAW to Geneva. In this respect, we look forward to the intergovernmental consultations to be convened in 2006 and its substantive preparations with a view to making implementation of international human rights instruments more effective.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, may I reiterate my delegationís confidence that the implementation of the OHCHRís Plan of Action, the broader reform agenda of the UN human rights machinery, including the ongoing consultations on establishment of a Human Rights Council and renewed commitment of our leaders to the promotion of all human rights will help us bridge the existing implementation gap so that every human being can enjoy his/her human rights in larger freedom in the years to come.