Press release | Date: 26/03/2015 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Norway is providing NOK 90 million to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This is an increase of NOK 10 million compared with last year. ‘Strengthening the UN’s human rights work is vital, particularly at a time when these rights are under increasing pressure globally,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
The primary role of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is to speak out clearly when human rights are violated and advance the development of these rights. OHCHR is also an important international contact point for research, education, capacity building and advocacy activities, and supports the work of independent Special Rapporteurs appointed to monitor human rights in different countries or in relation to specific issues. Another important task is to provide technical and practical assistance to a number of UN member states.
‘The UN budget for protecting and promoting human rights is inadequate. Insufficient funding limits the UN’s capacity to monitor and provide support to member states in their efforts to fulfil human rights obligations. Norway is one of the main contributors to the OHCHR. We also strongly support it maintaining its independence,’ Mr Brende said.
The Government is giving priority to human rights in Norway’s foreign and development policy, as outlined in the white paper presented to the Storting (Parliament) in December. The increased funding is in line with this.
The human rights work of the OHCHR coincides with priority areas identified by the Government, such as individual freedom and public participation, the rule of law and legal protection, and equality and equal opportunities. Norway’s financial contribution will also support efforts to make the UN more effective, and to ensure that human rights are given priority throughout the organisation. This is crucial for preventing armed conflict and serious human rights abuses.