In the midst of a global human rights crisis, affecting millions of children worldwide, Child Rights Connect calls on government to pay their regular budget assessments in full and to stand up for the values upon which the United Nations system, in particular the human rights mechanisms, were built.
Delays in UN membership contributions are preventing the human rights mechanisms to undertake their fundamental functions in the midst of a global human rights crisis. As of 25 September 2020, 122 Member States have paid their regular budget assessments in full, as opposed to 127 in September 2019 and 141 in September 2018 (see the figures on the UN webpage).
Child Rights Connect and its members call on governments to stand up for the values upon which the United Nations system, in particular the human rights mechanisms, were built and to act in accordance with the vision set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The first to denounce this situation were the Chairpersons’ of the UN Treaty Bodies. On 4 August 2020, they issued a statement, where they made a strong call on States and the Secretary-General to fully support the work of human rights treaty bodies, especially in a time of the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to a wide range of human rights violations around the world.
The High-Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, echoed the same concerns in her letter to Member States of 10 August 2020 where she stated that “the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic are significantly compounded by the current financial crisis of the UN Secretariat resulting from unpaid dues of Member States”.
On 28 September 2020, the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council added its voice to highlight that “adequate financing of the Special Procedures has been an issue of concern for several years. At this time, Member States have only paid about 60 percent of their commitments to the United Nations regular budget” (press release here).
Child Rights Connect is equally concerned about this trend as the funding shortfall is undermining the UN system and multilateralism. A direct result of this shortfall was the possibility in 2019, fortunately avoided, of the cancellation of the sessions of the Treaty Bodies. Child Rights Connect a that time issued a press release to state that cancelling the sessions would put the human rights system in jeopardy and would further weaken key accountability mechanisms, such as the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children, which are already significantly underfunded.
The majority of Member States are also worried about this situation. The report of the co-facilitators on the process of the consideration of the state of the UN human rights treaty body system submitted to the UN General Assembly on 14 September 2020 states that “the majority (of States) considers the funding of the treaty body system and the allocation of adequate funding a key priority, with the currently insufficient resources presenting a major challenge both for the treaty bodies and the Secretariat. According to them, the automatic allocation of resources as per General Assembly Resolution 68/268 has not been implemented”.