Norway increases funding for UN human rights efforts

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'The UN’s efforts to increase respect for human rights are more important than ever', said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

On Friday 21 October, Norway signed a new cooperation agreement with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Norway has been a key supporter of the agency’s work for many years. OHCHR is Norway’s most important partner in the field of international human rights. Norway is now increasing its funding and will provide NOK 197 million per year to support UN human rights in 2022–2023. This is up from Norway’s previous annual support of NOK 165 million.

'The High Commissioner is an important and highly respected actor that works to expose and condemn human rights violations. At the same time, OHCHR works with countries to help them comply with their human rights obligations', said Ms Huitfeldt.

The new agreement emphasises that Norway will be a significant donor to UN human rights efforts. Less than 4 % of the UN budget currently goes to OHCHR. The result is persistent underfunding of the UN’s human rights pillar. Voluntary contributions, such as those made by Norway, are of vital importance to the agency.

'Human rights and democracy are under pressure across the world. We must work to counter this trend and OHCHR plays a key role in this context. Norway’s support and cooperation helps to enhance the ability of the High Commissioner to carry out his work', said Ms Huitfeldt.

Under the agreement, Norway will provide support for the activities of OHCHR in Colombia, Ethiopia, Myanmar and Palestine and other countries. Support will also be provided for UN efforts to protect human rights defenders and strengthen civil society, as well as to combat discrimination, among other things on the basis of religion and gender identity. Norwegian funding will also go towards efforts to prevent and respond to human rights violations, particularly in crisis and conflict situations.