I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
At the outset let me thank the President of ECOSOC, as well as the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner and her Office for briefing and the reports under Item 3. Let me also regret that the briefing by the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission did not take place today, despite resolution 45/31. We believe that such information exchanges will help system-wide coherence and operationalizing the Council’s mandate in preventing human rights violations.
The death penalty constitutes a serious violation of human rights and human dignity. The EU unequivocally opposes its use at all times and all circumstances. While we are pleased to see an overall encouraging trend towards its universal abolition, we are concerned about the resumption of its use in several countries where a de facto moratorium had previously been in place. We will continue to work towards achieving the universal abolition of the death penalty and we call on all countries that have not yet ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, to do so.
We welcome the report of the High Commissioner and its findings that the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms pay greater attention to sexual and gender-based violence and to women’s participation. However, more still needs to be done in this regard, including through the promotion of the full, effective, equal and meaningful participation of women in decision-making processes, including in security sector reform, in peace talks and negotiations, and in arms control and disarmament processes.
The EU welcomes reports on the rights of indigenous peoples and expresses concerns that indigenous human rights defenders continue to face high risks when conducting their work, particularly those whose efforts involve protecting lands and territories as well as the environment, and those cooperating with the United Nations. We would also like to express our support for the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in all relevant United Nations meetings on issues that are affecting them, including in this Council.
The EU continues to work towards the realization of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation for all. This became even more imminent during Covid-19 pandemic. In this respect we would like to welcome the latest report of the Special Rapporteur and his efforts to promote the right, including through furthering the realization of the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.
We welcome the holding of a second session of the IGWG on the regulation, monitoring and oversight of the activities of private military and security companies, but would like to recall that this process has had little deliveries. While the EU will continue to engage openly and constructively in this process, we would like to reaffirm that PMSCs do not operate in a vacuum and that international legal obligations exist. The Montreux Document clearly outlines existing legal obligations, in line with the IHL and international human rights law, and the EU favours its further universalisation.
The EU and its Member States continue to implement human rights-based approach to development, encompassing all human rights as they are a pre-condition for the achievement of an inclusive and sustainable development. We also underline the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. It is essential to consider immunization against COVID-19 as a global public good and ensure timely, fair and equitable global access to safe, affordable and effective vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, especially in developing countries. This is also of high importance to mitigate global pandemics and its consequences.
At the same time we would like to reiterate our support to the Right to Development, based on the indivisibility, interdependence, universality and inalienability of all human rights and individuals as the central actors of the development process. Individual States bear primary responsibility for protecting and respecting human rights and to ensure that their citizens benefit from a sustainable and inclusive development.
* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.