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Remarks of the Minister a.i. of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Humphrey Hildenberg on the occasion of the opening of the Regional Human Rights Reporting Training Activity in Paramaribo, Suriname on Monday 8 December 2008.
15 April 2009 / 12:01




I am privileged to warmly welcome all participants from fellow Caribbean countries as well as all others to Suriname on behalf of H.E. Lygia Kraag-Keteldijk, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who due to other commitments, could not be here with us today. I am sure that you have already experienced our warm hospitality and hope that your stay in our country will be both successful and enjoyable.


Suriname is pleased to host this regional human rights reporting activity, which has the principal objective to equip the human rights experts of the region with the necessary tools to enable them to improve their national capacities for reporting under the various human rights instruments of which they are party to. This training also provides an opportunity for sharing information on lessons learned and best practices.


The promotion and respect for human rights is one of the pillars of the United Nations and we are convinced that neither the cause of development not that of security can be advanced without the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and they have to be addressed in a holistic way.


We have committed ourselves to promote human rights in the respective CARICOM societies and to that effect we have acceded to or ratified some or all of the major human rights instruments.


Although it is acknowledged that reporting requirements under treaty provisions are an important vehicle to monitor compliance of instruments that embody universal human rights, it can not be overemphasized that these requirements often times weigh heavily on small states like the CARICOM members, which already are dealing with limited human and financial resources.


With the newly established Human Rights Council and its universal periodic review it becomes even more important to increase our national capacity to reporting under human rights instruments.


Participants should therefore maximize the opportunity this training provides to increase their capacity in the process of formulation of national reports.


The initiative should be placed against the background of the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted on 1o December 1948, as a commitment of the international community to upholding dignity and justice for all. 


Sixty years after the adoption of this landmark instrument this commitment is still relevant. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has ultimately inspired the adoption of numerous standard setting instruments recognizing rights of children, women, persons with disabilities, as well as numerous declarations, regional conventions and even national constitutions. The fact that this document is widely available throughout the world and translated in over 3oo languages is testimony of the global partnership for human rights.


We are therefore proud to offer our regional contribution to the commemorative events that are being organized worldwide.


I express the hope that this week which now is referred to as “Human Rights Week” will enhance the region’s commitment to remain guided by the fundamental principles of good governance, the rule of law and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of all and that respective Governments will continue to take up their responsibilities to guarantee that, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as laid down in several international instruments, are fully upheld.


It would be remiss of me not to specially acknowledge the assistance received from the staff of UNITAR in organizing this activity. The support of the Government of Turkey was also invaluable for realizing the idea of organizing such a training activity.


In closing I would like to once again wish all participants a successful training and for me remains to declare the Regional Human Rights Reporting Activity opened.

I thank you.