United Nations General Assembly
Agenda item: 66
Human rights questions
DEPARTMENT OF MULTILATERAL COOPERATION,
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF MONGOLIA
October 18, 2006
The outgoing year has witnessed a number of important developments aimed at strengthening the UN human rights machinery as envisaged by the 2005 World Summit Outcome.
First, the creation of the Human Rights Council has provided practical expression to the Charter’s recognition of human rights as the third pillar of the Organization’s work along with security and development. Pursuant to the General Assembly resolution 60/251 the Human Rights Council has to develop the modalities of the universal periodic review (UPR) and to complete the review of all mandates and mechanisms established under the Commission of Human Rights by mid-2007. My delegation remains hopeful that the transition will eventually result in retaining and enhancing all the strengths of the past experience while avoiding its weaknesses in the new and upgraded architecture of protection and promotion of human rights.
Second, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been strengthened allowing the High Commissioner to set in motion the implementation of her Plan of Action and the Strategic Management Plan. 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. My delegation welcomes the emphasis put by OHCHR on poverty reduction as one of its priorities for the current biennium program. In this regard, we look forward to receiving the upcoming set of “Principles and guidelines for a human rights approach to poverty reduction strategies” to be published by OHCHR as a tool to assist countries and international agencies in translating human rights norms and standards into policies in favor of the poor. We also support the efforts by OHCHR to develop a strategy of its work on economic, social and cultural rights with a view to enhancing its capacity to assist States in strengthening national protection of this group of rights.
Third, significant headway has been made to strengthen a coordinated and coherent approach in the functioning of the human rights treaty body system. We welcome the finalization of the harmonized guidelines on reporting under the international human rights treaties, including guidelines on a common core document and targeted treaty-specific reports. We believe that these guidelines will help ease the reporting burden shouldered by State parties through rationalizing their reporting obligations, especially in light of an addition of the two more treaty bodies to be established under the recently finalized conventions for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances and on the rights of peoples with disability. My delegation wishes to express its interest in OHCHR technical assistance in utilizing these guidelines in fulfilling our reporting obligations under the core human rights treaties.
Such innovative approaches of some treaty bodies like the practice of having a rapporteur (HRC) or focal points (CESCR) for cooperation with UN entities, involvement of national human rights institutions in the reporting process of State parties, holding workshops on the implementation of concluding observations as well as use of dual chambers by treaty bodies to expedite timely consideration of reports, sharing of information between the reporting State and the committees prior to consideration of reports with a view to enhancing the dialogue should, in our view, be more widely practiced. We also support the suggestion that the recommendations of the special procedures and the concluding observations of the treaty bodies should serve as part of the basis of the universal periodic review to be conducted by the Human Rights Council.
While considerable efforts have been made to register the above progress in strengthening the UN human rights machinery, a lot more has to be done to improve the effectiveness of the HR treaty bodies, including such issues as addressing the overlap in the work of the committees and backlog of State reports as well as further streamlining of human rights throughout the UN system activities.
As the Secretary-General has rightly put in his last report on the work of the Organization, the cause of human rights has entered a new era – an era of implementation. As holders of primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights of their citizenry States’ role in ensuring the implementation of human rights commitments cannot be overemphasized. However, in face of a broad range of human rights challenges facing the international community, including wide-spread poverty, discrimination and intolerance, 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 primarily 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 bringing the body of national laws in line with the international standards.
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. Since its creation, the National Human Rights Commission has been serving as a powerful and independent advocate of the protection and promotion of human rights. In May this year, the National Human Rights Commission submitted its fifth annual report on the status of implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Mongolia to the Parliament, encompassing two thematic chapters on torture and on the freedom of assembly and collective bargaining. Furthermore, the implementation of the National Human Rights Action Program adopted in 2003 has further revealed the need for more focused cooperation in the areas of capacity-building and human rights education.
Mongolia takes seriously her reporting obligations under the international human rights treaty bodies. Of late, our repiodic reports have been considered at the CRC Committee in response to my Government’s second periodic report under the Convention on the Rights of the Child in May 2005 and its combined sixteenth to eighteenth periodic reports at the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last August. In both cases my Government has been represented by a high-level delegation headed by the Deputy Prime Minister at the CRC and by the Minister for Justice and Home Affairs at CERD meeting. The implementation of the concluding remarks and observations of these treaty bodies have been extensively discussed at the national level by all the stakeholders, which will undoubtedly facilitate our concerted efforts to ensure their effective implementation.
In conclusion, may I reiterate my Government’s strong resolve to work towards ensuring protection and promotion of all human rights through, inter alia, its continued cooperation with OHCHR and other development partners.