The initiative was launched in September 2018 in New York with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and representatives of 13 countries from around the world, together with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission.
The participants agreed to promote, among themselves and others, a positive narrative on human rights through sharing good human rights policy examples. These are based on concrete experiences and best practices, and draw on the wide range of priorities where human rights find an articulation, such as sustainable development, gender equality, social inclusion and resilience, and peace and security.
The participants agreed to meet regularly to discuss different policy priorities and the positive ways in which the promotion and protection of human rights, engagement with civil society and independent human rights institutions at national and multilateral levels can fulfil those priorities. They also agreed to foster human rights-minded partnerships among members and with other partners sharing their vision.
The Good Human Rights Stories Initiative aims to complement the important work being carried out by different human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council, the UN General Assembly Third Committee, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as other good governance and sustainable development initiatives at national, regional and multilateral levels.
The European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights at that time, Stavros Lambrinidis engaged in a broad range of stakeholders including with civil society representatives, EU institutions, EU Member States and partner countries to propose the scope to the initiative and identify countries and good practises which could be included in the initial phase of the initiative. For more than 18 months prior to the formal launch, he conducted a programme of successful outreaches and high-level engagement with the partner countries which are members of the initial group of members.
The initiative is launched in the year that marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 25th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, all of which are of vital importance in striving for a more peaceful world.
The members assert respect for human rights as a founding value and a central pillar of their internal and external action. They celebrate their individual and collective ownership of human rights and affirm their solid desire to continue improving their own human rights record and supporting through good stories both themselves and others who wish to do the same.
The members commit to strive to promote fundamental government priorities, including sustainable development, security, social justice and resilience, gender equality and inclusiveness, based on the respect for universal human rights and human dignity, good governance, the rule of law, independent democratic institutions and open consultations with civil society, also pursuant to the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
They neither view nor present themselves as “perfect” examples of human rights, but rather as countries who are committed to striving for constant improvement in all fields.
They recognize the importance of UN human rights mechanisms and aspire to work closely with UN Special Procedures. They also acknowledge the positive role of National Human Rights Institutions and other similar national bodies and commit to take necessary actions to guarantee the adequate resourcing and independence in their work.
By taking part in this initiative, members undertake to meet regularly in Geneva and New York at Ministerial level — with the participation, as appropriate, of academics, business representatives, civil society, and other experts — in order to discuss and promote positive human rights practices and experiences on a different topic each time, and to foster partnerships to support the promotion and protection of human rights domestically and globally.
The members of the coalition may also support each other in the organisation of “good stories” bilateral, regional, cross-regional or multilateral meetings and events on human rights topics of their choosing, in triangular cooperation visits and initiatives to share experiences and practices with third countries, etc.
The coalition will be open to new members.
- Burkina Faso
- Cabo Verde
- European Union
- The Gambia
- New Zealand
- Republic of Korea