Søreide promises more support for UN human rights work

Ine Eriksen SoreideForeign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide.Photo-Hans Kristian Thorbjornsen

The war in Syria, the fate of the Rohingyas, South Sudan and Israeli settlements will be the central theme of the UN Human Rights Council this year. Norway promises more support.

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) attended on Monday when the UN Human Rights Council opened this year’s session in Geneva. For that reason, she signed a four-year agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and promised 150 million dollars in support for this year, an increase of 20 million kroner from last year.

– Human rights and democracy are under great pressure in many parts of the world. It is therefore important that Norway helps strengthen the room for action for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, both politically and economically. We urge other countries to do the same, “says Søreide.

The UN High Commission for Human Rights represents a clear and principle voice based on international norms and the rule of law. I am concerned that underfinancing will limit the UN’s efforts to influence tand follow-up  state obligations for human rights, “she said.

Syria and Myanmar
The war in Syria will be a key issue in the UN Human Rights Council in the coming weeks, as will the Myanmar displacement of the Rohingya minority and the civil war in southern Sudan.

The UN Special Envoy for Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has established that there are signs of a genocide of Muslim Rohingy minority, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has warned the more than 700,000 Rohingyaans who have fled to Bangladesh against returning home.

In southern Sudan, both government forces and insurgents are behind systematic and bestial assault against civilians, stated a group of UN reviewers in a report last week.

South Sudan
The report documents mass rape, often of minors. The civilians get their eyes pierced, get castrated and beheaded the report continues, which will now be handled by the UN Human Rights Council.

Saudi Arabia’s brutal warfare in Yemen is also expected to become a theme, as does Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Israeli settlements
The UN Human Rights Council decided in March 2016 to establish a database of companies operating in the Israeli settlements to strong protests from Israel and the United States.

The base now contains 206 companies, all of whom have received letters from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights with a call to withdraw from the settlements.

The names of the companies are kept secret, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously informed NTB that they are not aware that there are Norwegian companies on the list.

However, the Norwegian oil fund is heavily involved in more than 30 companies present in Israeli settlements, including the two major Israeli banks, Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi, as well as Israel’s largest telecommunications company Bezeq and Heidelberg Cement.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today