Despite having grown exponentially in recent years, the United Nations Human Right System is reducing its resources to bring justice and social progress. While the number of states ratifying human rights binding instruments continues to increase, the budgetary allocation to human rights-related processes and activities goes down year by year. Simply put, the Office of the High Commissioner (UN OHCHR) only received 3.7 % of the total UN regular budget for 2018-2019 and 3.3% for 2020. Anything under 8% is “unacceptable”.
In a letter to all UN Member States, 129 NGOs urge that adequate resources are allocated for human rights through the UN regular budget.
“Despite its limits and defects, the UN Human Rights System plays a fundamental role in the promotion and protection of human rights all over the world. It is crucial to preserve it and to guarantee its efficacy and efficiency”, reads the letter.
Last year, the financial constraint of the OHCHR risked cancellation of the third session of six different treaty bodies. By the same token, the decreasing budgetary allocation to the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) forced the Human Rights Council to reduce its meetings and, consequently, the Council suppressed all general debates during the following June session.
Special Procedures, as well as the OHCHR, heavily rely for their functioning on ‘voluntary contributions’ by states, private institutions and even business enterprises. This situation is unacceptable and it seriously threatens the independence and impartiality of the UN work in the field of human rights.
"Such developments negatively affect the right of participation of civil society organizations and peoples’ movements”, regret the undersigning organizations.