Worrisome pressure by the European Union to further reduce the UN human rights budget

Members of the Human Rights House Network (HRHN) express their concern to learn that the European Union is aiming at further reducing the ordinary budget of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The NGOs call upon the European Union to support the work of the Office, by increasing its ordinary budget as a way to strengthen the impact of its work and cooperation by all States.

In a joint letter to Baroness Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, 66 human rights NGOs from European Union member States, States from the European Partnership and States in cooperation with the European Union stress that the intent to reduce OHCHR’s budget is a signal in the wrong direction. The programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015 for 2014-2015 already decreases the budget of OHCHR by a net 4.8%, whilst the promotion and protection of human rights represents only 3% of the overall UN budget.

Keeping in mind that within the overall UN budget, the share allocated to the promotion and protection of human rights represents approximately 3%, the intent to reduce OHCHR’s budget is a signal in the wrong direction. Soon the Human Rights Council will celebrate its 10 years of existence – we believe that all States and group of States aiming at promoting human rights should ambition to raise that share to at least 10% to celebrate the 10 years of existence of the Council, which will be made impossible if the European Union continues to pressure for more and more “across the board” cuts in the UN’s human rights budget.

20 years after the Office was established, does the European Union really want to a force contributing to undermining the sustainability of OHCHR, hence weakening the voice for human rights within the UN system?

Azerbaijan Human Rights House (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Association for Protection of Womens’ Rights
  • Azerbaijan Lawyers Association
  • Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
  • Institute for Peace and Democracy
  • Legal Education Society
  • Women’s Association for Rational Development
  • Media Rights Institute
  • Public Union of   Democracy and Human Rights Resource Centre
  • Society for Humanitarian Research

Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House in exile, Vilnius

Human Rights House Belgrade (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Belgrade Centre for Human Rights
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights
  • Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
  • Policy Center

Human Rights House Kiev (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement (Association UMDPL)
  • Center for Civil Liberties
  • Human Rights Information Center

Human Rights House Tbilisi (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Article 42 of the Constitution
  • Caucasian Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Studies
  • Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims
  • Human Rights Centre
  • Media Centre
  • Union Sapari – Family without Violence

Human Rights House Oslo (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)
  • Health and Human Rights Info
  • Norwegian Helsinki Committee

Human Rights House Voronezh (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Charitable Foundation
  • Civic Initiatives Development Centre
  • Confederation of Free Labor
  • For Ecological and Social Justice
  • Free University
  • Golos
  • Interregional Trade Union of Literary Men
  • Lawyers for labor rights
  • Memorial
  • Ms. Olga Gnezdilova
  • Soldiers Mothers of Russia
  • Voronezh Journalist Club
  • Voronezh-Chernozemie
  • Youth Human Rights Movement

Human Rights House Yerevan (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Armenian Helsinki Association
  • Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
  • Jurists against Torture
  • Guaranteeing Equal Opportunities
  • Shahkhatun
  • Socioscope
  • Women’s Resource Center

Human Rights House Zagreb (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Association for Promotion of Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities
  • B.a.B.e. – Be active, Be emancipated
  • Centre for Peace Studies
  • Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past
  • GOLJP – Civic Committee for Human Rights
  • Svitanje – Association for Protection and Promotion of Mental Health

Russian Research Centre for Human Rights (on behalf of the following NGOs):

  • Human Rights Network Group
  • Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia
  • Moscow Centre for Prison Reform
  • Moscow Helsinki Group
  • Mother’s Right Foundation
  • Non-violence International
  • Right of the Child
  • Right to Live and Have Civil Dignity
  • Social Partnership FoundationUnion of the Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland

Human Rights Club, Azerbaijan

Rafto Foundation, Norway

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