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EU Statement – United Nations General Assembly: On the occasion of the adoption of the Third Committee report by the General Assembly

New York, 18/12/2019 - 19:01, UNIQUE ID: 191218_14
Statements on behalf of the EU

18 December 2019, New York - Statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States by H.E. Ambassador Jukka Salovaara, Permanent Representative of Finland, on the occasion of the adoption of the Third Committee report by the General Assembly -- Explanation of Vote

18 December 2019

Explanation of Vote


Mr. Chair, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.  

The European Union and its Member States welcome the outcome of the 2019 session of the Third Committee of the General Assembly. Through the adoption of several key resolutions, the Third Committee reaffirmed that all human rights are to be realised worldwide, and that there is no hierarchy of human rights. It recalled the centrality of human rights to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.

The EU and its Member States have proudly engaged on all resolutions tabled, and we have presented ourselves 14 resolutions, covering a large number of human rights issues going from social, economic and cultural rights to civil and political rights and from thematic to country-specific resolutions. We thank all members that supported our priorities and initiatives. We have worked with all regional groups and organisations, including GRULAC on the Rights of the Child, the OIC on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the Non-Aligned Movement in support of important resolutions on social and economic rights, and the African Group on a number of thematic resolutions.

The EU remains committed to engage with all states in order to promote the respect, protection and progressive fulfilment of economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to education, the right to food, and the rights to safe drinking water and sanitation as components of the right to an adequate standard of living.

The EU would like to express its deep appreciation to the member states that have aligned with our statements, in particular the candidate countries to the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries.

We welcome the consensual adoption of the EU-led Resolution on the situation of human rights in the DPRK, as well as the large support for the Resolution on the situation of human rights of the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar, presented jointly by the EU and the OIC. We firmly believe that the international community must continue to send the strong message that all those responsible for violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law crimes are to be held accountable in national, regional or international courts or tribunals, including the International Criminal Court.

Mr. Chair,

We welcome the consensual adoption of the Resolution on the Rights of the Child, which the EU presented jointly with the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean. In this important year marked by the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, we collectively reiterated through this resolution our resolve to promote and protect the rights of all children, particularly those in vulnerable situations.

We welcome the consensual adoption of the EU-led Resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief and call on all states to fully implement its provisions and to guarantee freedom of religion or belief for all, including persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities.

The EU recalls its support for the resolutions on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and on the situation of human rights in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Ukraine.

The Committee also adopted by consensus several forward looking resolutions on gender equality. These resolutions sent a strong signal of the international community’s commitment for the human rights of all women and girls, including sexual and reproductive health, and provide an ambitious roadmap for the years to come. We will work with all relevant stakeholders – including Member States, Civil Society actors, Human Rights Defenders - to turn these words into concrete action.

As we mark today the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, we seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment for the full and effective implementation of the Convention. The EU will continue to strongly oppose all forms of discrimination including on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, and will consistently and constructively continue to support the UN work in this regard.

We welcome that once again the Third Committee was able to find consensus on the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants, including women migrant workers. The EU will remain steadfast in its commitment to uphold international human rights law in relation to refugees, internally displaced persons as well as migrants.

The European Union, which has committed to become the first carbon-neutral region by 2050 with its new Green Deal, can only salute the reaffirmation in several resolutions adopted by the Third Committee of the importance of the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, also in consideration of the undeniable impact of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights.

The EU calls upon all members to refrain from using the Third Committee to pursue objectives other than the promotion and protection of human rights. In this regard, the EU reiterates that we support an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace where the rule of law fully applies, including human rights and fundamental freedoms, with a view to societal well-being, economic growth, prosperity and the integrity of free and democratic societies, and we recall that whereas consensus exists on the need to step up our collective efforts to build capacity to fight cybercrime, there is no consensus for the creation of a new international instrument.

The EU also reiterates that it is not for the Third Committee to put into question decisions of the Human Rights Council, including the authority of the Human Rights Council to appoint mandate holders, and that we don't see the merits of a resolution on the HRC report to be adopted by the Third Committee.

Finally, the EU thanks the Chair of the Third Committee, H.E. Christian Braun, the other members of Bureau, and the Secretariat of the Committee for their outstanding work.

Thank you.

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