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Sri Lanka in Geneva:: ‘Multilateralism could still deliver, despite challenges’

z_p02-MultilateralismDuring a high-level panel discussion on ‘Human Rights Mainstreaming’ at the ongoing 40th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Sri Lanka said it believed the “picture is not entirely bleak,” and “there is still hope that multilateralism can deliver despite challenges.”

Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva, Samantha Jayasuriya was speaking on the theme ‘Human Rights in the light of multilateralism: opportunities, challenges and the way forward’, on February 25, in Geneva.

She said the high-level panel discussion came at a time when there were broader concerns on whether the UN multilateral system was able to respond effectively, to a rapidly changing global peace, security and development architecture.

Jayasuriya noted that in the recent years, the multilateral outcomes reached through the Paris Climate Change Summit, the Marrakech Global Migration Compact, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to name a few, had taken a human-centric approach, integrating human rights and transforming them into actionable commitments.

She stressed, however, that it was time to take a critical look on how and what more could be done to improve UN multilateral processes.

“The core principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter such as sovereign equality, non-discrimination and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms remained the guiding light in achieving international cooperation and addressing global socio-economic and cultural issues,” she said.

Jayasuriya stressed that multilateral endeavours should be “effective and timely in delivering responses; fair and objective in approach; enabling and equitable in impact or outcome.”

She also referred to the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), noting that as an instrument of a voluntary nature, the implementation of its elements largely rested in the hands of each sovereign government.

She commented that given many of the contemporary issues that the world was grappling with being trans-boundary in nature, solutions also needed to be global, based on shared responsibility, exchanging experiences, best practices and technical knowhow.

Jayasuriya drew the attention of the high-level panel to the proposed ‘global knowledge hub’, the ‘start-up fund’, and the ‘connection hub’ of the capacity-building mechanism of the GCM, indicating they could only be effective if there was international support forthcoming in the interest of ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration.

The proposed quadrennial voluntary reporting at the International Migration Review Panel of the UN General Assembly provided, in her view, a platform to gauge the collective progress in respecting the rights of all migrants, irrespective of their legal status.

Focusing on another key area in which multilatarism had played a pivotal role, she said the panel focused on climate change and its close nexus on protecting the human rights of affected people,

When key stakeholders responsible for much of the carbon emission, stayed outside the climate regime, maintaining the less than 1.5 degrees temperature rise target had become a real challenge, and the full and effective enjoyment of human rights was at stake, she said.

Given that the negative impacts of climate change had risen in its magnitude and frequency, often reversing the hard gained socio-economic developments, Sri Lanka’s senior diplomat asked the Council about further measures that it could take to support countries, for their mitigation and adaptation efforts.

She further inquired how the ‘Rulebook for implementation of the Paris climate agreement’, as endorsed at the COP 24, could make meaningful change in protecting the rights of the affected.

The high-level panel was chaired by Human Rights Council President Coly Seck and comprised three panelists, the International Labour Organization’s Deputy Director-General for Policy Deborah Greenfield, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Head Mami Mizutori, and Executive Director of the Secretariat of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, Amandeep Singh Gill.

President of the 72nd session of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garces, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, and Iran’s Vice-President for Legal Affairs Laya Joneydi, made opening statements.

Courtesy – Daily News

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