UN rights forum’s action on climate and COVID-19 vaccines shows its relevance, says President

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Speaking to the UN arsenic she prepares to measurement down from her one-year word astatine the Council astatine the extremity of the month, Ambassador Khan besides looked up to her caller relation astatine the International Criminal Court (ICC), wherever her assignment arsenic Deputy Prosecutor was announced astatine the commencement of the week. 

Created by the UN General Assembly successful 2006, of the astir important roles of the Council is to code contiguous and important quality rights violations astir the satellite – not slightest the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine inequity - Ambassador Khan explained.  

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“There were immoderate substantive issues from the COVID 19 pandemic, and 1 was the entree to vaccines,” she said. “This is simply a speech that is happening everyplace successful the world, whether wrong countries, we person an adjacent entree to vaccines by each communities, particularly those which are astir vulnerable. 

“And secondly, are we having an equitable transportation of vaccines among countries. So, I deliberation that speech was truly amplified this year.” 

I deliberation galore much countries person recognized that clime alteration is simply a applicable treatment successful each UN agency, successful each institution

And successful a twelvemonth that brought nations unneurotic for the COP26 Climate Summit successful Glasgow, the Human Rights Council amplified calls for enactment connected cutting emissions from a rights-based perspective, contempt historical absorption successful immoderate quarters, Ambassador Khan continued. 

“There are galore radical successful the satellite who judge that the lone speech you tin person connected clime alteration is successful Bonn with the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention connected Climate Change), and that it is nary of the concern of the Human Rights Council to talk astir issues which are applicable to the environment. But increasingly, I deliberation galore much countries person recognized that clime alteration is simply a applicable treatment successful each UN agency, successful each institution. It's the concern of everyone.” 

New rights focus 

By mode of illustration of this caller consciousness implicit the risks posed by clime change, Ambassador Khan pointed to accrued planetary enactment and pronouncements connected the issue, wrong the sphere of quality rights. 

Then came comments, recommendations and reports astir clime alteration from specialised bodies appointed by the Council, known arsenic UN Special Procedures and Treaty Body experts. This included the Committee connected the Rights of the Child, which issued a report connected the interaction of clime alteration and children.  

It was this benignant of foundational enactment “over many, galore years” successful the clime alteration versus rights nexus that enactment culminated successful 2 landmark resolutions astatine the Council this twelvemonth connected clime and biology rights, Ambassador Khan explained. 

Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations Office astatine  Geneva was elected President of the Human Rights Council for 2021.

Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations Office astatine Geneva was elected President of the Human Rights Council for 2021., by UN Photo/Jean Marc Ferré

“One …recognized the close to a healthy, harmless and sustainable environment; and the 2nd was the instauration of a mandate for clime alteration and quality rights. Both are incredibly important for the world. Of course, they're precise important to tiny land States, peculiarly successful the Pacific, but they are important for the full world. And the information that determination was specified an overwhelming level of enactment for some resolutions, I think, truly bespeak an expanding consensus”, she said. 

Reflecting the value placed connected achieving sex equality astatine the UN, Ambassador Khan underscored the Council’s enactment for this, and inclusivity successful general, successful peculiar for tiny land States. 

But she explained that arsenic lone the 3rd pistillate to beryllium successful the President’s spot astatine the Council, though she was arrogant of her achievement, “we request to bash a batch of self-examination” astir wherefore truthful fewer women person travel earlier her. 

“Often erstwhile radical talk astatine the Council, the question should be, are they speaking astatine a level which makes decisions due to the fact that often successful organizations and institutions, you volition find 50 per cent and much practice of women, but they are often astatine the level wherever they are not they're not truly making the decisions. So, the contented is, wherever is the enactment of women? I deliberation this is the precise important contented for the Council. How galore ambassadors successful Geneva are women who are inactive successful the minority, though there's a very, precise bully network.” 

On a affirmative note, Ambassador Khan added that “after overmuch effort and commitment”, much than fractional of the Council’s autarkic experts were women. “So, I deliberation we've achieved thing there, but it could autumn backmost astatine immoderate time,” she said. “I don't deliberation we should beryllium complacent astir it.” 

Responding to concerns that immoderate politicization of the Council risked paralyzing its enactment - a longstanding disapproval of the Council and thing that the body’s next President raised shortly aft his assignment – Ambassador Khan said that the body’s divers scope of views was nary surprise, fixed its planetary rank of 47 States. 

The ICC is not conscionable a court, it's besides an planetary instauration and it's besides a multilateral body

It was besides important to enactment that determination was nary part of the Council “in 2 bands of benignant of developed countries and processing countries”, she said. The existent dynamic was much “nuanced”, she continued, with smaller countries that were “less apt to beryllium connected to immoderate ample powerfulness group” liable for promoting “helpful and productive” exchanges. 

After presiding implicit nary little than 5 Special Sessions astatine the Human Rights Council successful 2021, successful summation to the 3 regular sessions held successful February, June and September, Ambassador Khan tin expect small remainder earlier taking up her adjacent situation astatine International Criminal Court (ICC). 

The erstwhile Fijian transgression authoritative and High Court justice volition instrumentality with her a greater knowing of the satellite of planetary practice “and the value of diplomacy”, she insists. 

“The ICC is not conscionable a court, it's besides an planetary instauration and it's besides a multilateral body. And I judge that successful fact, this peculiar measurement that I instrumentality present is simply a logical decision of the mode that my vocation way has developed for the combat for my life. 

“So, I deliberation that it is going to beryllium an highly challenging experience, but it is 1 for which I judge my vocation has prepared maine for. I look guardant to it. As to what areas of enactment I would beryllium covering, that is, of course, wholly astatine the discretion of the (ICC) main authoritative (Karim Khan). And I don't cognize that yet. I'm assuming that successful the adjacent fewer months it'll go clearer.” 

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