At regional forum, OHCHR highlighted the key role of human rights in sustainable development

20 de April, 2018

Photo: ECLAC

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SANTIAGO (20 April 2018) – The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) participated this week in the second meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development. The forum was held at the headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.   

The forum gathered hundreds of participants, including state representatives from 28 countries of the region, as well as United Nations agencies with presence in the continent, academics, civil society and private sector organizations.

During the activity, participants shared good experiences, assessed the progress made and discussed challenges for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Latin America and the Caribbean.

OHCHR’s representative Birgit Gerstenberg was mandated by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to participate in the forum. She attended several meetings and previous events in the framework of the regional meeting.

The participation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the forum was coordinated by the OHCHR’s offices in New York and in South America (based in Santiago).

Human rights and sustainable development

In the name of OHCHR, Birgit Gerstenberg underlined how the UN human rights mechanisms are working as supporting tools for the implementation of the SDGs. She recalled that the 2030 Agenda is the strongest proof of the integration of the human rights in sustainable development.

During her intervention in the meeting “The Regional Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: contributions of the United Nations system“, Ms. Gerstenberg highlighted the importance of the effective participation of all sectors of civil society in the implementation of the SDGs. The OHCHR envoy emphasized that effective participation is the right way to achieve inclusive development, to close inequality gaps and to tackle discrimination. 

At a side event jointly organized by OHCHR, the governments of Ecuador and Denmark, the Human Rights Ombuds office of Argentina and the Danish Institute of Human Rights, Ms. Gerstenberg recalled that the full exercise of public freedoms –namely freedom of opinion, expression and information, of association and peaceful meeting- is fundamental to achieve greater, meaningful participation. She also stated that in recent years, the exercise of these rights has been limited in many countries of the region, and that reports of UN human rights mechanisms have particularly noted serious rights violations against defenders of indigenous peoples, the environment, women, migrants, LGBT, among others.

Additionally, OHCHR expressed that Latin America is the region with the best practices in the development of human rights indicators: for example, the adoption of human rights indicators of health, access to justices, water, environment, etc. by the governments of Mexico, Paraguay, Bolivia and Ecuador is an experience that can be replicated in other countries of the region.

During a workshop for delegates of the countries that will submit voluntary reports for the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), Ms. Gerstenberg explained how the human rights tools can provide support in order to prepare country reports on the implementation of the SDGs.

In coordination with ECLAC, OHCHR also facilitated a dialogue that gathered nine UN Resident Coordinators from the region. The activity aimed at identifying experiences, challenges and good practices in the integration of human rights on the implementation of the SDGs.

Experiences were also shared on how to support the dialogue with authorities, particularly in identifying those people and groups that are “left behind” more often, as well as in the fight against discrimination and inequalities and in ensuring the effective participation of all actors.


This year, 2018, is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human

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