Türk: Greater effort is needed to broaden support for human rights

Launching a year-long initiative to mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and urging United Nations Member States to renew their commitment to realizing the ideals of that historic document , Human Rights Chief Volker Türk has launched an appeal to raise $452 million to support and expand the work of his Office by 2023.

“To renew our determination to bring the words of the Universal Declaration to life […] we have to guarantee economic, social and cultural rights on an equal footing with civil and political rights,” Türk declared. “We must insist that action be taken – globally and nationally – that addresses inequalities; strengthens social protections; and eliminates discrimination and other root causes of conflict, environmental crises and misery.”

United Nations Human Rights has 1,836 employees between its headquarters in Geneva and New York and 101 presences on the ground. According to Türk, extra-budgetary donations remain vital for its ability to meet the needs and requests of States and partners, and to develop its work for the benefit of people’s lives, as well as to consolidate human rights in law , economies and practices.

Major United Nations Human Rights Donors

The European Union
In 2022, United Nations Human Rights received $240.8 million from 87 donors. This figure was an increase of 5.7 percent compared to the 2021 contributions, although it only covered 60 percent of the $400.6 million extra-budgetary resources needed last year.

Financial assistance in recent years has enabled UN Human Rights to support initiatives to rebuild institutions, expand civic space, and support legal reforms for the protection of human rights. In addition, the Office was able to monitor crises in greater detail and dispatch responsive staff in response to early warning signals in various situations.

The Office also increased its support for human rights investigations and improved its ability to present statistical data on discrimination, civilian deaths in conflicts, killings and disappearances of human rights defenders, journalists and trade unionists, as well as the progress of national institutions. of human rights. All of this made Derechos Humanos a valuable source of information for development partners and other stakeholders.

“Today, we urgently need to develop and scale up this proactive and practical approach. Our UDHR75 initiative will include several actions aimed at stimulating and ensuring that human rights offer solutions to some of our most pressing challenges,” Türk said.

renewal time

In addition, he promised to take advantage of the 75th anniversary of the UDHR to renew his Office by strengthening its links with the United Nations system and the international human rights machinery.

“Human rights instruments and guidance must inform the design and implementation of United Nations activities in a forceful, pragmatic and continuous manner. We need to build on the Secretary-General’s Call to Action and of Our Common Agenda “, he explained. “It is especially important to move quickly to deepen our work with development actors across the United Nations and help put the Sustainable Development Agenda for people and planet back on track by 2030.”

Türk also indicated that 50 Human Rights Advisers posted by his Office to United Nations Country Teams have provided essential guidance on human rights-based budgeting; a human rights approach to data collection; and policies and programming that leave no one behind. However, seven of these posts are now in jeopardy due to a shortage of funds.

The funding gap of 40 per cent in 2022 has limited the ability of UN Human Rights to respond positively to requests for technical cooperation made by various States, such as the Pacific region, Southern Africa and the Caribbean, where it is not has been able to provide additional capacity to field presences.

“Without human rights there can be no lasting peace. No sustainable development. No justice either,” Türk said. “That deep vision is one of the fundamental aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations.”

Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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