Statement by India at the 40th Session of Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under General Debate - Agenda 6, delivered by Mr. Animesh Choudhury, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India [15 March 2019, Geneva]

Statement by India at the 40th Session of Human Rights Council (25 February – 22 March 2019) under General Debate - Agenda 6, delivered by Mr. Animesh Choudhury, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India

[15 March 2019, Geneva]

Mr. President,

India continues to firmly believe that the UPR mechanism is an effective and visible instrument for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The primacy that the UPR mechanism provides to the member states with regard to their final decisions on the recommendations, taking into account their respective social, political and economic circumstances and the conduct of the review in an objective, transparent, non-selective, constructive, non-confrontational and non-politicized manner are key to the universal acceptance of the UPR mechanism. The UPR should be a key instrument in the promotion of human rights by the Human Rights Council.

2. As such, the UPR mechanism should not be tinkered with, as any such attempt carries the potential of diluting the universal support that it currently enjoys. The practice of encouraging Member States to focus on a particular set of rights is counter productive.

3. It is clear that the time allotted for universal periodic review has restricted states from having fruitful exchange of views. This is also in contrary to the practice of allotting fixed and reasonable time to states and other stakeholders in the sessions of the Council. India proposes that the review of the HRC should allot more hours to the UPR process to address this asymmetry.

4. The enhancement of State’s capacity through technical assistance and capacity building measures in consultation with, and with the consent of, the State concerned would contribute in the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground. When it comes to implementation of the UPR recommendations, we believe that the national or domestic mechanisms remains best placed to translate them into concrete outcomes.

5. We are also aware of the funding constraints of the OHCHR towards such assistance. The OHCHR management plan(2018-21) mentioned about turning down requests for in-country assistance from 12 Member States in 2017 due to lack of sufficient funds. India is doubling its contribution to the OHCHR for technical assistance and capacity building measures from this year. This is in line with our view that constraints in capacity of States is affecting their implementation of measures for promotion and protection of human rights.

6. We take positive note of the role of the OHCHR in the conduct of the Universal Periodic Review. We also appreciate the Office’s technical support for capacity building to various States in this process.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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