HRC / 24th Session, Clustered ID with the SR on truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence and the SR on contemporary forms of slavery
Human Rights Council – 24th session
Item3: Clustered ID with the SR on truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence and the SR on contemporary forms of slavery
Mr. De Greiff, let me thank you for your excellent, profound report and emphasize again Austria’s strong support of your work and mandate.
Addressing the legacy of serious human rights violations in the past is a legal and moral responsibility we have towards the victims and society as a whole. Unaddressed grievances and abuses lead to further violations and ultimately hamper the promotion and protection of human rights, stability and sustainable development.
In this context, truth commissions constitute important instruments as they give a voice to victims, contribute to social integration and provide essential information in realizing other transitional justice measures as well as for a country’s historical record.
Mr. de Greiff, in you report you emphasize that truth commissions derive their power to a large extent from the moral authority and the expertise of commissioners; hence the selection of commissioners is crucial to their success. We therefore support your recommendation to develop international guidelines on incompatibilities, conflicts of interests and ethical standards for truth commissioners.
Mr. Special Rapporteur, you underline in your report that the implementation of the recommendations elaborated by truth commissions is “a responsibility that lies primarily on governments”. We therefore echo your call on states to meet their responsibility of implementing truth commission’s recommendations, most adequately through a robust network of implementing entities; Mr. de Greiff, did you come across any good practises on how to ensure the political will and support for the work of truth commissions, from its early stages to the implementation of its recommendations?
Austria would like to thank you for your important work done and the numerous activities undertaken over the last years in view of enhancing the protection of victims of contemporary forms of slavery. In this regard, we welcome that your thematic report focuses on challenges and lessons learned in combating slavery. We share your assessment that although States may have ratified laws and international conventions that explicitly prohibit and sanction contemporary forms of slavery, many of them have not taken adequate action to enforce these laws. We would be interested to know about your experiences in assisting States to implement those laws.
To change the situation on the ground, the implementation of your recommendations, especially those emanating from country visits is crucial. We have noted in your report that you participated in follow-up workshops focused on the recommendations you have made upon concluding your country visits. We would be interested in having further details on these events and to know whether this could eventually be seen as good practice examples for other States.
With regard to businesses, you request that they must also take action both inside and outside their supply chain in view of combating contemporary forms of slavery. They should find creative and effective ways to work with business peers and partners, NGOs, trade unions, Governments and international organizations. Could you share with us some good practices in this regard?
Finally, since your mandate as Special Rapporteur comes to an end, Austria would like to thank you for your tireless work and efforts in effectively addressing contemporary forms of slavery over the last couple of years and wishes you all the best for your future engagements.
I thank you.