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Candidature of Denmark to the Human Rights Council 2019-2021

Voluntary pledges and commitments

Denmark is proud to present its candidature to the Human Rights Council for the term 2019-2021. The Danish candidature is guided by the principles of Dignity, Dialogue and Development. If successful, this will be the first time Denmark serves as member of the Council.

Denmark is a democratic society based on the rule of law.  The protection and promotion of human rights are central elements in our national and foreign policies.

Denmark is party to seven core human rights conventions[1] and has a strong tradition for full cooperation with all UN bodies. Denmark has extended a standing invitation for country visits to the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures and has accepted individual complaints procedures in relation to six of the seven conventions.

Denmark has a long-standing engagement in promoting and protecting human rights. Gender equality and the protection of the human rights of women, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, is a core value for Denmark. Similarly, Denmark is at the forefront of the fight against torture, as demonstrated by our leadership on the fight against torture in the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, as well as our role in the five-state Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI).  Simultaneously, Denmark is a global front-runner in the efforts to advance the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights both at the national and international level.

Denmark is committed to assisting states in their capacity building as a means to meet their human rights obligations. For 40 years, Denmark has fulfilled the UN target of providing at least 0.7 per cent of our GNI in Official Development Assistance. The primary focus of Denmark’s development policy is to contribute to the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals. We work to ensure that our policies interlink human rights, development, and peace and security.   

Denmark remains committed to transparency and accountability in government. The Danish independent Parliamentary Ombudsman defends individuals against abuse of executive power. Denmark’s independent national human rights institution, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, complies with the UN Paris principles and is accredited A status by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions.

Denmark is a strong proponent of an active role for civil society organizations in national and international human rights fora. We maintain a genuine and open dialogue with civil society and non-governmental organizations on human rights protection in Denmark and internationally.

In this spirit, Denmark presents the following voluntary pledges and commitments:

Advancing human rights in all relevant international fora

  1. We pledge to continue our active engagement in all relevant multilateral human rights fora. We pledge to continue to support the successful mainstreaming of human rights across the UN system.
  2. We pledge to address discrimination and promote equal access and opportunities in all spheres of life. We place a special focus on women and girls’ full equal effective access to health, decision-making, resources, education and opportunities.
  3. We pledge to maintain international focus on the prevention of torture ensuring that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  4. We pledge to continue to work for indigenous peoples’ rights with a view to achieving the ends of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples in decision making on issues that affect them.
  5. Rules-based societies with efficient and inclusive institutions form the bedrock of human rights implementation and accountability. We pledge to work for a world in which respect for rule of law is the foundation of international cooperation and in every society.
  6. We pledge to promote a better understanding and implementation of the freedom of religion or belief globally with a special focus on improving the rights and freedoms of women and girls.

    Engaging for a credible, operative and effective Council

  7. We pledge to work for a principled and strong Council that take timely action by addressing critical country situations and important thematic areas of human rights.
  8. We are committed to bringing more effectiveness into the Council. We pledge to engage in an inclusive, cross-regional and transparent manner to ensure that human rights obligations and universal norms are translated into local reality. This includes strengthening the delivery of capacity building and technical support
  9. Denmark pledges to continue supporting universal participation at the Council. We are among the major contributors to the Trust Fund to Support the Participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
  10. We pledge to continue to promote and protect civil society space at the Council to ensure that views of human rights defenders are heard. We pledge to continue a close and regular dialogue with civil society organizations.
  11. Denmark reaffirms its continued support for the Universal Periodic Review. We pledge to continue our active engagement with the mechanism.
  12. We pledge to continue an active role in exploring the interrelated and mutually reinforcing nature of human rights and the implementation of the SDGs.

    Supporting a strong and independent human rights monitoring system

  13. We pledge to continue to support the work and the independence of the Office of the High Commissioner. Over the past five years, Denmark has quadrupled its voluntary unearmarked contribution to the OHCHR.
  14. We pledge to continue to support the OHCHR in providing technical assistance to Member States in order to support the implementation of human rights obligations, in particular developing countries, least developed countries and small island developing states.
  15. We pledge to promote the independent UN human rights Treaty Body system, while reviewing ways of improving its efficiency and effectivity.

    Protecting and promoting human rights at national level

  16. Denmark has signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances. We pledge to ratify this Convention.
  17. We pledge to continue to engage constructively with national, regional and international human rights monitoring systems with a view to ensuring that we constantly uphold our international obligations and respect for human rights.
  18. We pledge to uphold the standing invitation to all special procedures of the Human Rights Council and continue to collaborate fully with the relevant Treaty Bodies.
  19. Denmark is committed to an effective and balanced regional system for promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. We pledge to continue to comply with and implement the decisions of The European Court of Human Right in cases brought against us.
  20. We pledge to continue our efforts to combat racial discrimination and hate crimes.
  21. We pledge to strive for an ambitious and more knowledge-based social policy, so that disadvantaged children and young people, marginalised adults and people with disabilities, have better opportunities to participate in education and in the labour market.
  22. We pledge to implement our national action plan for the promotion of security, well-being and equal opportunities of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex persons.
  23. We pledge to ensure human rights protection in the asylum system based on a thorough assessment of each individual case, i.a. by ensuring that rejected asylum seekers have access to a two-tier process.
  24. We pledge to implement our national action plan on combatting human trafficking to stop trafficking and exploitation of people in the most vulnerable situation.

[1] Denmark has ratified the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


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