The Czech Republic successfully concludes the UN Human Rights Council presidency

Photo: © MZV ČR / MFA CZ

On the last day of 2023, Ambassador Václav Bálek‘s one-year mandate as the president of the UN Human Rights Council came to an end. As customary, the president presided over both formal and informal sessions of the Council, along with participating in numerous other activities. The presidency team then convened an informal session of the Council in Prague and made substantial progress in all priority areas of the Czech Presidency.

“I am very pleased that, after last year’s successful Presidency of the Council of the EU, Czechia has effectively managed its inaugural Presidency of the most significant international human rights forum,” said Minister Jan Lipavský.

“It was a great honor for me, as well as for my country, the Czech Republic. I am proud that we could welcome many of you to Prague for an informal meeting and showcase Czech hospitality. My country deeply appreciates your trust and cooperation throughout this year,” Ambassador Bálek stated during the final organisational meeting of the Council in December, addressing the Permanent Representatives of the Council Member States.

In line with the president’s mandate in 2023, Ambassador Bálek presided over the Council’s usual three regular sessions (in March, June, and September), as well as a special session convened in May to discuss the human rights situation in Sudan. Additionally, he chaired ad hoc activities that emerged from Council-approved resolutions, such as the interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Ukraine on December 19.

Throughout the year, the presidency team diligently worked to fulfill the priorities of the Czech Presidency: enhancing prevention, broadening participation, and increasing effectiveness.

The Czech team reinitiated the debate on streamlining the Council’s work, which had been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the final presidential declaration was unanimously approved, identifying a set of practical measures to assist the Council in addressing the critical situation associated with the growth of its agenda. In terms of participation, the Czech Presidency concentrated on the systematic use of digital tools in the Council’s operations.

In his capacity as president of the Council, Ambassador Bálek addressed the UN General Assembly, met with key representatives from the UN, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, and explored ways to align agendas and enhance cooperation among international organisations to more effectively address global challenges.

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