Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session

Salle XX, Palais des Nations

05 March 2020

Agenda Item 3: General Debate


Speaking time: 2 min. 30 sec.

Thank you, Madam President.

The Philippines highlights the important role of economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to development in contributing to prevention efforts and to the attainment Sustainable Development Goals.

The urgency of paying attention to these rights is reflected in the Council’s adoption of 42 resolutions that refer to the SDGs, clearly reflecting the Council’s recognition of their link to human rights avancement. Our discussions during the two Intersesional Meetings on Human rights and the 2030 Agenda similarly reflect this need for synergy at the international, regional, and national levels.

We highly appreciate the UN leadership’s commitment to this direction, and are pleased to note that the UN system is capacitated and mobilized to support, at the country-level, human rights needs and challenges within the framework of the SDGs.

            Our Intersessional Meetings widely highlighted the role of the Universal Periodic Review as a valuable entry point for increasing reporting efficiency, enhancing accountability, advancing implementation of the Goals and contributing to prevention efforts. The UN leadership similarly echoed this strong recognition of the UPR as an important and powerful basis for their work in countries and we look forward to the practical guidance on harnessing the power and potential of UPR in informing human rights and SDG work at the UN country level.

            We further appreciate the High Commissioner’s decisive call for the Council to take effective action across the spectrum of human rights issues, and to give equal attention to issues that require long-term sustained commitments and actions such as climate change, migration, and the 2030 Agenda.

The UN Secretary General, as he outlined his call for collective and collaborative action on human rights, underscored that human rights “must never be a vehicle for double standards or a means to pursue hidden agendas” and that “success must be measured by the yardstick of meaningful change in people’s lives.”  This strong message resonates in the High Commissioner’s emphasis on technical cooperation and practical, actionable solutions based on sound human rights norms.

These calls strongly signal the need for reflection in our work in the Council, to ensure that our actions are similarly oriented towards meaning, relevance, and impact on the ground, away from selectivity, politicization and polarization. This reorientation in our approaches and actions in the Council, which is fully supported by many delegations and stakeholders, is especially timely in light of the current efficiency challenges, UN financial difficulties, and growing skepticism on the relevance and effectiveness of multilateralism. We are encouraged by the Council Presidency’s firm stance to ensure that the work of the Council is optimized towards constructive multilateralism.

            Madam President, you can count on the Philippines’ full support in this undertaking.

Thank you, Madam President. END.