Delegation of the European Union to Russia

06/19/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2024 08:40

HRC56 Interactive Dialogue on High Commissioner’s annual report EU Statement

United Nations Human Rights Council

56th Session

Interactive Dialogue on High Commissioner's annual report

19 June 2024

EU Statement

Mister President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

We thank the High Commissioner for his annual report.

Regarding the situations in Myanmar, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea, Belarus, Syria, Burundi, Venezuela, Libya, CAR, and Colombia we would like to refer to our statements during the respective interactive dialogues.

Regarding OPT we have shared our concerns in the just finished dialogue, and gave our full support to the comprehensive roadmap that would lead to an enduring ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages and a surge of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

We reiterate our resolute condemnation of Russia's illegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. We demand that Russia fully abides by its obligations under international law, including international human rights law and international humanitarian law, and the fundamental rules and principles of the UN Charter. We demand that Russia ceases its aggression and withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately, completely and unconditionally, and fully respects Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders. The EU continues to condemn in the strongest possible terms the atrocities committed in Ukraine in the context of Russia's war of aggression, such as indiscriminate and targeted attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, extrajudicial executions, the systematic use of torture, sexual- and gender-based violence, and unlawful deportation and transfer of Ukrainian children and other civilians. The EU is firmly committed to ensuring full accountability for all crimes committed in connection with Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, as well as victims' rights to justice and reparation, as well as guarantees of non-repetition.

The EU continues to strongly condemn the severe expansion of restrictive legislation and systematic, brutal repression against civil society and human rights defenders in Russia, as well as the unabated crackdown on independent media, individual journalists, political opposition members and other critical voices, including through judicial harassment.

We recall that Russia has an obligation under international law to prohibit and prevent discrimination. The EU strongly condemns the decision of the Russian Supreme Court outlawing "LGBT movement" as "extremist". We call upon the Russian authorities to uphold their human rights obligations, including to uphold the rights of persons belonging to minorities, Indigenous Peoples and persons in vulnerable situations, and to thoroughly investigate the persistent reports of violations targeting human rights defenders and their family members, as well as persecutions, including torture, of LGBTI persons, not least in Chechnya.

Russia'sillegal, unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine has amplified internal repression,severelycurtailing fundamental freedoms, drastically limiting media freedom and introducing war censorship. We call on Russia to fully implement all rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. We urge Russia to immediately release all political prisoners and abolish its oppressive legislation, including the laws forbidding truthful information about Russia's war against Ukraine, the penalisation of so-called "discreditation" of Russia's armed forces and the laws on so-called "foreign agents" and "undesirable organisations". The EU condemns the widespread disinformation campaigns of Russiawithin the country and beyond, and its use of a wide range of tools of foreign information manipulation and interference, seeking to justify its war of aggression against Ukraine and the atrocities of Russian armed forces.

The EU reiterates its concerns about the very serious human rights situation in China, as corroborated by numerous reports of UN Special Rapporteurs and the assessment report of human rights concerns in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by the OHCHR. The EU continues to encourage China to effectively cooperate with the OHCHR, including towards the implementation of the recommendations of the assessment report and of the Universal Periodic Review, as well as with all international human rights mechanisms, including all relevant Special Procedures mandates. Likewise, the EU continues to urge China to abide by its obligations under national law, including its own Constitution, and international law, to respect, protect and fulfil human rights for all, including Uyghurs, Tibetans and other persons belonging to national or ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities across China. The EU reiterates its serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Hong Kong, as well as about China's reported extraterritorial activities (including coercion).

The human rights situation in Hong Kong continues to remain of concern. The repressive use of the National Security Law and of the Sedition Law, as well as the sweeping changes in the electoral system constitute violations of democratic principles and political pluralism. The newly passed national security legislation under Article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law adds to these concerns and threatens to further weaken basic freedoms. The law's extraterritorial reach is of particular concern. The EU is following with great concern the national security trials of politicians and pro-democracy actors. The EU urges the Chinese central government and the Hong Kong authorities to restore full respect for the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, and democratic principles, as key to preserve Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy under the 'One country, two systems' principle

The human rights situation in Iran remains dire. The EU condemns human rights violations including as regards women's and girls' enjoyment of human rights and the rights of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities. The EU calls on Iran to fully ensure respect for the human rights of its citizens, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of religion or belief, and the right to peaceful assembly. All forms of violence, mistreatment and aggression against women and girls must be eradicated. The EU reiterates its callson Iran to eliminate, in law and in practice, all forms of systemic discrimination against women and girls in public and private life and to take gender-responsive measures to prevent and ensure protection for women and girls against sexual and gender-based violence. In this regard, we again emphasise the importance for the Fact-Finding Mission to conclude its reporting work on the protests that began in September 2022. The current pace of executions is appalling. The EU continues to call on Iran to pursue a consistent policy towards the abolition of capital punishment altogether, ensure that those who are under any form of detention or imprisonment are not subject to mistreatment, and provide due process to all. The EU continues to call on the Iranian authorities to cease their widespread resort to arbitrary detentions, including of foreign citizens and dual nationals, and release all those unjustly detained. The persistent impunity for grave human rights violations in Iran is a matter of serious concern. The EU strongly urges Iran to fully cooperate with all relevant mechanisms created by the Human Rights Council for accountability for human rights violations, the SR and the FFM, and to implement the relevant international treaties and agreements to which it is a party.

In Uganda, the Anti-Homosexuality Law is contrary to international human rights law and to Uganda's obligations under the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. The law introduces severe punishments, including the death penalty to which the EU is opposed in all circumstances. The Ugandan government has an obligation to protect all persons in Uganda and uphold their human rights.

The Anti-Prostitution and Abnormal Sexual Behaviour Law adopted by the Iraqi Parliament last April represents a serious backsliding for Iraq's positioning on the protection of the rights of LGBTI persons. The new legislation contravenes international obligations that Iraq has subscribed to, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The EU reiterates its extreme concern over the conflict escalation in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the ensuing worsening humanitarian situation and serious human rights violations and abuses, including displacement, deprivation, and gender-based violence. We strongly condemn bombing of IDPs sites, especially those in Mugunga on 3 May resulting in numerous civilian victims. It fully supports the Luanda and Nairobi processes and calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, withdrawal of Rwandan troops from DRC, and disarmament of M23, FDLR and other armed groups and full respect of the decisions and agreements reached under the frame of the Luanda and Nairobi processes. The EU urges all parties to ensure protection for civilians, justice for human rights violations, and unimpeded, secure humanitarian aid access to vulnerable populations. The EU regrets that the moratorium on death penalty has been lifted and strongly invites DRC Authorities to reintroduce it.

The EU remains seriously concerned by the conflicts in Ethiopia, notably in the Amhara and Oromia regions, as well as reports of ongoing human rights violations and abuses, including those targeting human rights defenders. The EU welcomes the recent approval by the Government of Ethiopia of a Transitional Justice Policy to address past and current violations and abuses of human rights, including those that occurred during the conflict in northern Ethiopia. We will closely follow its effective implementation. The EU stands ready to support Ethiopia in its efforts and to provide its expertise to reinforce a credible, victim-centered and transparent accountability and transitional justice process,in line with regional and international human rights standards. Accountability, including for sexual and gender-based crimes, and transitional justice will be key to ensure lasting peace and reconciliationfor all Ethiopians.

We remain concerned about the restrictions of fundamental freedoms, in particular those of expression and association, as well as the shrinking of civil society space in several countries in the MENA region, including in Tunisia and Egypt. The use of the death penalty in the region also remains an issue of concernand we condemn recent executions of individuals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The EU reiterates the call on Türkiye to comply with its obligations under international law, including human rights law, and protect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, including property rights of persons belonging to minorities and minorities' legal entities. The EU is concerned about continued targeting of political parties, civil society representatives, journalists, academics, human rights defenders, and others with detentions. These developments increase concerns about continued deterioration of respect for the rule of law and human rights, including fundamental freedoms and the independence of the judiciary. As an EU candidate country and long-standing member of the Council of Europe, Türkiye is expected to apply the highest democratic standards and practices. In this context, we continue to call on Türkiye to implement the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Human rights will continue to be an integral part of EU-Türkiye relations.

The EU is deeply concerned about human rights in Nicaragua and the systemic repression against any form of political dissent, through measures that violate both its own Constitution and its international obligations, including the ICCPR, affecting civil society, journalists, academic and religious institutions, and human rights defenders. We condemn the attacks on Afro-descendants and Indigenous Peoples, alongside the prevailing impunity for the crimes committed against them. We call for the immediate and unconditional liberation of all the remaining political prisonersand arbitrarily detained individuals, the return to the rule of law, the return of international human rights organisations to the country, and the protection of human rights of the political prisoners deported and stripped of their citizenship. We reiterate our calls on the Nicaraguan authorities to engage in a genuine and inclusive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders in Nicaragua about their legitimate demands. We regret the confiscation of properties and other assets. We urge respect for international commitments and the release of arbitrarily detained individuals.

The EU is concerned about Haiti's aggravating humanitarian crisis and the growing strength and extreme violence of the armed gangs. The EU welcomes the important progress in the political negotiations aimed at providing the country with a more stable and inclusive governance structure. The EU also commends the willingness of new Haitian authorities to support the forthcoming deployment of the Multinational Security Support Mission as established by UNSCR 2699/2023 to assist the Haitian police in establishing public security throughout the country, building security conditions conducive to holding free and fair elections, and recalls the provisions in this resolution designed to ensure that the Mission will be in full compliance with human rights standards. It further invites all relevant stakeholders to continue to cooperate earnestly to address the long-running political, security and humanitarian crisis.