UN Secretary General Underlines the Importance of EU-UN Cooperation

Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki-moon took part in a meeting of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament on 19th of October, after addressing the European Parliament.[:] 


In his intervention the Secretary General underlined the importance of fighting against poverty, combating the climate change and expressed hope that the EU would join the UN in effectively trying to improve the rights and treatment of migrants.


EU is a strong supporter of the UN and the EU and UN share the same core values. Cooperation of these institutions is also close and the EU is committed to provide tangible and clear support also in the future, chairman of the Committee, Gabriele Albertini, stated. EU and UN are natural allies in defence of human rights issues and in tackling greatest challenges of our era, Mr Ki-moon agreed.


Chairwoman Hautala assured Mr Ban Ki-moon of the close cooperation between the European Parliament, the Subcommittee on Human Rights in particular, with the UN Human Rights Council and the Brussels office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Concerning Burma, in his statement on 10th of March 2010 the UN Special Rapporteur on on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Mr Tomás Ojea Quintana, recommended that UN consider establishing a commission of inquiry to address the question of international crimes in Burma. On 20 May the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma. While an annual UNGA resolution on Burma is being discussed among UN member states right now, the volume of calls for the EU member states to support the establishment of such a Commission, have increased. Ms Hautala expressed her full support to the efforts to establish such mechanism underlying the importance of combating against the worst crimes against humanity. Secretary General agreed that such proposal has indeed been made by the Special Rapporteur and added that this is a decision that will eventually have to be made by the member states.


In her intervention Ms Hautala also assured the Secretary General of the great importance the European Parliament attaches to the effectiveness and independence of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, Special Rapporteurs in particular.


Regarding the Human Rights Council and the nearing review, Ms Hautala asked how the EU can contribute to the review of the Council in a most effective manner and ensure that the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights be protected through the review. In his response the Secretary General expressed his strong appreciation of the positive engagement of the member states to the Council review and to the Universal Periodic Review. Universal Periodic Review is a new mechanism of the Human Rights Council where the UN member states can review each other’s human rights record. He welcomed the first round of the Universal Periodic Review and noted that as a process this is a fair and transparent way for the member states to work on human rights together. However, now that the first round is almost complete, it is most important to ensure that the recommendations presented at the Universal Periodic Review hearings shall be effectively implemented.


Secretary General furthermore underlined the importance of maintaining the independence of the OHCHR from the Human Rights Council. He in particular hoped for the creation of a functioning working relationship between the OHCHR and the Human Rights Council.