UNA-UK has written to the UK's Ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall Grant (pictured), urging the UK to make every effort to protect the budget of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which is slated for cuts in 2014-2015.
As part of its 2013 Human Rights Day campaign, over 140 UNA-UK members and supporters co-signed the letter, including Baroness Glenys Kinnock and Dame Margaret Anstee, which expresses serious concern over funding for OHCHR:
UNA-UK and its members and supporters ask that the UK uses its engagement with the UN's Fifth Committee - where the 2014-2015 regular budget is due to be decided on 24 December - to ensure that OHCHR's budget is not reduced further.
UK contributions to OHCHR
On Human Rights Day, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced a further £500,000 in voluntary contributions for OHCHR. Though welcome news, this amount will unfortunately do little to tackle the Office's long-term funding issues, or the predicted $15 million deficit it faces this year.
The funding issue was also raised in the House of Lords this week by Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations, which receives secretariat support from UNA-UK. Baroness Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the FCO with responsibility for the UN, stated:
Baroness Warsi's point has also been made by the Department for International Development. (DFID), which contributes £2.5 million to OHCHR annually. On Monday DFID published a 2013 update on OHCHR as part of its ongoing Multilateral Aid Review, which assesses the impact of UK aid spending on multilateral organisations.
DFID reports that whilst OHCHR has made some progress since its previous review in 2011, it concludes that more must be done to demonstrate that it provides the UK with "value for money". In response, OHCHR stated: