It is a pleasure to welcome the High Commissioner for Human Rights in our midst. We are immensely pleased with the work she has done in the past four years and are happy to see her continuing with her job, though we would have preferred the extension of a full four year term.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the High Commissioner for her very useful visit to Pakistan earlier this year. Your interaction Madam High Commissioner at the highest level was very constructive and productive. Her visit was followed by other Special Procedures, which are reflective of Pakistanís commitment to working constructively with the OHCHR and other human rights mechanisms.
Pakistan will continue to engage the High Commissionerís office as well as other relevant human rights mechanisms to promote and protect universal human rights for all.
We have taken good note of her comprehensive presentation today. We agree with her views that the UN must act to uphold the rule of law and protect human rights. Application of these standards must be universal and without double standards. We are thankful for High Commissionerís briefings to the Security Council on several occasions.
The High Commissioner has rightly invited our attention to one of the contemporary manifestations of discrimination Ė incitement to hatred based on oneís religion or belief. Acts of this kind of incitement should be addressed in accordance with the framework of international human rights law. The condemnable events of incitement to hatred and violent reactions to them underline the importance of protecting the freedom of speech and addressing its misuse. We, therefore, support the work of OHCHR in highlighting the important link between Art 19 & 20 of ICCPR.
We would be interested in knowing the progress made so far and what can be done more to address this issue that has serious consequences on international peace and security. Pakistan will gladly play its role in this process.
The High Commissioner has touched on a number of other issues in her presentation. We will make only brief observations:
We have taken note of High Commissionerís personal views as well as her acknowledgment that international community remains divided on Death Penalty and Sexual Orientation. These issues need to be addressed through more engagement and dialogue.
Success of the Universal Periodic Review depends on its universal and cooperative nature that avoids naming and shaming. We must reserve this spirit to maintain the UPRís momentum and to ensure effective follow up.
We support her views on the need to strengthen Treaty Bodies through appropriate funding. The increase in their structure as well as workload must be complemented with proportionate funding. We also urge everyone to respect the ongoing IG process for addressing all issues of concern through this mechanism.
Despite strong advocacy by the OHCHR there is no substantive forward movement on the right to development. We would like to ask the High Commissioner what practical measures can be taken to realize this important right.
We also fully support the request by the High Commissioner to properly resource her office to carry out the ever growing mandated activities and urge her to ensure that the growth in her office staff equally represents the geographical balance.