Letter to the UN: “Don’t cut Human Rights “

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, alongside almost 400 other organisations, are worried about the budget challenges the United Nations is facing and the effect this will have on human rights mechanisms.

 The concerns are rising after a global setback in promotion and protection of the human rights.

Only 44 of the 193 member states paid their assessed contributions to the UN before 10. May 2019. 98 member states made their payments before 20. May.

The setback is part of a larger trend, as major budget cuts towards the UN’s human rights mechanisms also were made in the last budget period. The consequences can be severe if the cuts increase, warns almost 400 organisations, including The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, that have signed an open letter to all permanent missions to the United Nations in Geneva and New York.

«The UN is forced to reduce its human rights work, despite a growing global need. Currently only 3.7 per cent of the total UN regular budget is allocated to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This is not enough, and the consequences can be severe if the budget is reduced further”, says Gunnar M. Ekelove-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General.

The UN is forced to reduce its human rights work, despite a growing global need.

Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal

Budget cuts announced in April

In order to assure the functioning of the UN’s human rights mechanisms, all UN member states are encouraged to pay their assessed contributions without further delay, unless they have already done so.

Already in April it was informed that the economic situation can implicate several planned activities and meetings later this year.

“When member states fail to pay their contributions to the UN budget in time, the result is that UN human rights bodies have to reduce operations. The consequence is less respect for human rights and worse life quality for millions of people.”, says Ekeløve-Slydal.

Part of a larger trend

This alarming development makes its entrance at the same time as the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the 40th year anniversary on the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Read the full version of the letter here

The three founding pillars of the UN system is peace and security, human rights, and development. A message in the letter is that the organisations demand that the member states must prioritise securing adequate funding for the UN’s human rights pillar, with the promotion and protection of human rights being also indispensable to development, peace and security.

Amongst other organisations that have signed the letter is: Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, FOKUS, Human Rights House Foundation, Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Antirasistisk Senter, OsloMET, Human-Etisk Forbund, LO, Det norske menneskerettighetsfond og FN-sambandet.



Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal

Deputy Secretary GeneralEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 95 21 03 07Twitter: @GunnarEkelveSly
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