Welcome by Mr Lluĺs Maria de Puig to Professor Walter Kälin, representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of internally displaced persons (debate on Europe’s forgotten people)
I now wish to welcome Professor Walter Kälin, Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons.
Professor Kälin, you have dedicated much of your life to promoting human rights and upholding the dignity of people displaced by conflicts. A renowned expert of constitutional and international public law, you served as a Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the situation of human rights in Kuwait under Iraqi occupation. Working for the United Nations Human Rights Committee, you were closely concerned with problems faced by displaced persons. I should stress your contribution to the elaboration of the 1998 United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement that spell out the rights of internally displaced persons and the corresponding obligations of national authorities.
Ever since your appointment to your current position in 2004, our two institutions have co-operated closely to promote these Guiding Principles. Moreover, our Organisation laid down (in 2006) the 13 recommendations on internal displacement. As a result, the compelling obligations undertaken by our member states confirm, and even go even beyond, the level of commitments reflected in the United Nations Guiding Principles.
However, we are concerned that despite all our pledges, despite more and more elaborate benchmarks for human rights, there are still too many gaps between words and deeds in real life. The "forgotten people" need more of our attention and genuine support.
We look forward to hearing your views in our debate today. Professor Kälin, you have the floor.