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Human Rights Council 32nd Session (13 June – 1 July 2016) Item 2 - Update by the High Commissioner followed by General Debate

13 June 2016

Ireland aligns with the statement of the European Union and adds the following.

Mr President

High Commissioner

Ireland warmly welcomes you to the Human Rights Council and thanks you for your update and presentation today.

In light of time restrictions, we will not comment here on the various reports before the Council this session and will instead do so under other agenda items. We would instead today like to take advantage of today’s debate to benefit from your experience on a number of more systemic questions.

The issues you have brought to our attention today – and in the various reports of your Office, both thematic and country-specific – are deeply troubling and should serve as a call to action for us all to use the tools at our disposal here in the Council to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide. This includes prevention in its broadest sense; as well as appropriate and timely response to human rights violations.

In this regard, Ireland commends Switzerland for its initiative this session on human rights and conflict prevention, an appeal which we are proud to join. We would welcome your views on the benefits which could flow from the enhanced communication and operational exchanges foreseen in that appeal between this Council and the rest of the UN particularly the Security Council.

Further, a significant part of your role and that of your predecessors has been to serve as a voice alerting us to violations and crisis. We have to ask you and ourselves, are we doing enough here in the Council, to respond in an appropriate and timely way to situations of concern?

Here in the Council, we are committed to working constructively with all partners to assist in making the Council ever more effective and relevant, an important element of which is the direct input and participation of civil society. We call on all States to join in supporting civil society participation and taking robust action to prevent and respond to threats and reprisals.

And finally, we wish to pay tribute to the staff at all levels of your Office, who carry out their roles diligently, consistently and professionally. The quality of their work – whether research, reporting, technical assistance to states and of course field work – is made possible only through a combination of expertise and true commitment to human rights. While it may too often go unremarked upon as our collective focus moves from crisis to crisis, Ireland wishes to acknowledge and commend the role they play in often difficult environments.

Thank you