The 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) began today with Sri Lanka on the agenda.
The human rights situation in Sri Lanka will be formally raised at the session on Thursday while Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena will address the Council on Wednesday.
UN Secretary General António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the General Assembly made opening statements today.
In in his speech, Guterres said that he was at the Human Rights Council — the fulcrum for international dialogue and cooperation to advance all human rights – to launch a Call for Action.
“And I decided to do it now – during the 75th anniversary year of the United Nations – because of the centrality of human rights in all UN does, and because human rights are under assault,” he said.
He said that he wants to begin where human rights begin — with a core understanding. Guterres said that human rights are about the dignity and worth of the human person.
“They expand the horizons of hope, enlarge the boundaries of the possible, and unleash the best of ourselves and our world. Human rights are our ultimate tool to help societies grow in freedom. To ensure equality for women and girls. To advance sustainable development. To prevent conflict, reduce human suffering and build a just and equitable world,” he said.
The 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council is taking place from 24 February to 20 March 2020.