– Check against delivery –
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Serbia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia, align themselves with this declaration.
2012 has been marked by some further advancement towards the universal ratification of the core human rights treaties by UN Member States, a key objective set out by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The EU reaffirms its commitment to the promotion and protection of all human rights, whether civil and political, or economic, social and cultural. Human rights are universally applicable legal norms and the EU will resist strenuously any attempt to undermine respect for the universality of human rights.
Beyond the trend of an increasing number of ratifications, the EU also encourages the withdrawal of reservations that are incompatible with the objective and the purpose of the treaties.
Through ratification of international human rights treaties, States undertake to put into place domestic measures and legislation compatible with their treaty obligations. Nonetheless, the effective implementation at the national level of the various provisions of human rights treaties remains the key challenge.
In addition, a key component of the obligations of States parties under the treaties is the genuine and sincere co-operation with treaty bodies, which have made a significant contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights.
The European Union and all its Member States are parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The EU has made further progress in the implementation of the Convention and is also in the process of establishing an EU framework to promote, protect and monitor the implementation of the Convention in line with article 33.2.of this Convention.
The EU is strongly committed to an effective and independent human rights treaty bodies, which have a key role in the international framework for the promotion and protection of human rights.
We have strongly supported the multi-stakeholder process of treaty body strengthening facilitated by the OHCHR, which has made a significant contribution to raising the awareness of States and other stakeholders with regard to the challenges faced by the treaty body system and involved them in transparent and participatory consultations. We appreciate the report issued by the High Commissioner on the basis of these broad consultations.
We welcome and encourage the work already under way by the treaty bodies to enhance and improve their methods of work. We emphasize the need to respect the competencies of the different stakeholders involved, including the States parties, the treaty bodies, the High Commissioner for Human Rights in our discussions on treaty body strengthening, including within process undertaken in the General Assembly. The participation of all stakeholders in the General Assembly process is necessary for the process to be transparent and effective.
We consider these principles crucial in implementing resolution 66/295 adopted in September 2012, which also set the goal of identifying within the 67th session of the GA concrete and sustainable measures to strengthen the effective functioning of the treaty body system.
The EU also values the contribution of the treaty bodies in this process and appreciates the possibility to interact with the treaty bodies chairs also in the Third Committee.
The EU would like to compliment the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its excellent work and reaffirm its steady support for its activities. We also wish to reiterate that the independence of the Office is crucial for performing its tasks in an efficient and impartial manner.
Finally, the European Union would like to stress that the free and unhindered contact and cooperation with individuals and civil society are also indispensable to enable the United Nations and its mechanisms to fulfil their mandates. For this reason, we echo previous calls of the High Commissioner for States to stop any act of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperate with the United Nations and instead call on States to facilitate and encourage such cooperation.
Thank you, Mr Chair.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process