Opening Session – 40th Session of the Human Rights Council.

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From February 25 to 22 March 2019, The Human Rights Council is holding its fortieth session in Geneva. As the most important event aiming to assess Human Rights issues worldwide and promoting dialogue between nations, CD4Peace’s team will be present at the Palais des Nations.

During the Opening Session, we had the chance to hear from main actors in the field of Human Rights and Development, who reiterated the importance of Sustainable Development, International Dialogue and Human Rights to achieve Peace.

María Fernanda Espinosa (the General Assembly President), and António Guterres (the UN Secretary General) both emphasized the significance of the role played by the Human Rights Council, in a world where the basic principles of multilateralism are threatened by a rising tide of xenophobia, racism and intolerance. They insisted on the necessity to prioritize dialogue and mutual understanding, in order to fight against hate speeches and poisonous narratives that undermine democratic values, social stability and Peace.

Furthermore, as we are approaching 2021 and the second Human Right Council’s review of the 2030 Agenda, the General Assembly President highlighted one of today’s most sensitive and challenging issue: global inequality. Indeed, benefits from economic growth are unevenly distributed, and we see an increasing gap within and among countries that lead to instability and conflicts. However, if we want to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, we must achieve a more sustainable and equal world, as well as promote progress. Moreover, António Guterres especially addressed the challenge of reducing economic inequalities faced by women and girls, by claiming that ‘our world cannot wait 2 centuries to close the economic gender gap’. However, even if a lot remains to be done, it was pointed out that the Human Rights Council has been productive in promoting the right to development, which has contributed to deepening the protection of individuals and establishing more efficient monitoring systems and accountability.

Finally, António Guterres and Michelle Bachelet (the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) expressed their strong faith in the capacity of human rights based policies to build resilience and prevent crisis, as they deliver sustainable development and build confidence, social harmony and hope. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also emphasized the need for respectful dialogue with civil society actors, as we cannot have an optimal sustainable or inclusive development if the voice of civil society is not heard. She finally reminded that no country has perfect Human Rights records, but that she is convinced that States can meet expectations with some help from the Human Right Council.

Believing that a sustainable and fair globalization is a crucial element to peacebuilding, CD4Peace encourages the Human Rights Council to continue its efforts in facilitating international dialogue and promoting the right to development.