Panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming
Statement of Austria
28 February 2012
I would like to first thank the panelists for their excellent contributions. They clearly show the need for further efforts to more effectively mainstream human rights across the UN system and beyond. They also show a clear role of the Human Rights Council in this matter. We welcome, in this respect, the high level debate today on the issue of human rights mainstreaming with a focus on the area of development.
In order to be effective, mainstreaming of human rights needs to take place at all levels, at the international, regional and national level. But ultimately we need to show clear results on the ground, where it really matters: perpetrators need to be held accountable for their violations, women’s and children’s rights should be effectively guaranteed, the judicial system has to meet rule of law standards, people should be able to freely express their thoughts and opinions and to choose their religion and belief.
To guarantee these freedoms in the long-term, development and technical cooperation play a central role, especially after conflict and in times of transition. In order to make development sustainable, recent years have shown the need to take a rights-based approach to development. The need to strengthen the linkages between rule of law, justice and development in fragile or conflict-affected situations has recently been confirmed in the recommendations of the World Development Report 2011 on Conflict, Security and Development.
The essence of this integrated and rights-based approach to development is the following: Building roads and providing running water will not be sufficient for sustainable development if questions of corruption, organized crime, weak rule of law institutions and legacies of serious human rights violations of the past are not adequately addressed.
Especially, accountability mechanisms after serious crimes are an essential tool to re-establish the trust of citizens in the rule of law. If effectively implemented and enforced, they are earning important development dividends for victims of human rights violations, but also for the society as a whole.
The newly-created Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence is an important contribution by the Human Rights Council to better mainstream questions of accountability and transitional justice into the broader development and rule of law agenda.
The upcoming high-level debate on the rule of law of the General Assembly in September this year constitutes an important opportunity to develop new ideas how to better mainstream human rights and rule of law at the UN. We are confident that the outcome will create a positive momentum to effectively move forward on these important issues.
We would be very interested in further reflections by the panelists on the linkages between mainstreaming human rights, rule of law and development.
I thank you!