Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 42 - EU Statement: Item 2 - General Debate on HC oral update

Geneva, 10/09/2019 - 16:17, UNIQUE ID: 190910_10
Statements on behalf of the EU

United Nations Human Rights Council Geneva, 9-27 September 2019 EU Statement: Item 2 - General Debate on HC oral update

Mr. President, 

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

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania* , the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina align themselves with this statement.
The EU would like to thank High Commissioner Bachelet for her oral update to this Council, including on Myanmar, Gaza and Venezuela.

We reiterate our full support and pledge our continued cooperation with the High Commissioner and her office, whose effective functioning, independence and integrity we will continue to defend. We wish to reiterate these principles which are indispensable for the legitimacy of the UN human rights architecture vis-à-vis States as well as people on the ground. We call on all States to fully collaborate with the OHCHR and the Special Procedures, including by ensuring that mandate holders have unhindered access to and contact with individuals and civil society. The EU attaches great value to the important role of all civil society actors, whose contributions are vital for the work of this Council and will ensure that their voices continue to be heard by creating a safe and enabling environment for all those who work for the defense of human rights. We firmly condemn all reprisals and lend our full support to the President and the Bureau to take all necessary measures to prevent them and ensure full accountability for such actions.

The EU welcomes and fully supports the OHCHR's efforts to address the serious and deteriorating human rights situation in Venezuela, as reflected inter alia by the extrajudicial killings, including the death of Capitan Acosta while in custody of security forces, and the arbitrary arrests and intimidations against members of the National Assembly and their families. It is now important and urgent to follow-up on the recommendations of the High Commissioner's report of her visit to the country, including through a full cooperation with UN Special procedures providing them access to the country and the establishment of a permanent presence of the OHCHR in Venezuela.

On Myanmar, the EU remains committed to support building lasting peace and democratic transition in Myanmar and welcomes that the Independent Investigative Mechanism has been declared operational by the UN Secretary-General as of 30 August 2019. We look forward to closely follow the work of the Mechanism as a step towards ensuring accountability for those responsible for human rights violations and abuses of international law, as a matter of urgent priority. The EU will also follow the upcoming budget discussions in New York to ensure adequate funding for the mechanism going forward. 

The EU is concerned that serious human rights violations continue in the occupied Palestinian territory, and deplores the violence and further loss of human lives as well as injuries since March 22nd of this year. The EU notes that Israel has opened investigations on some of the numerous incidents occurred during the “March of Return” demonstrations along the Israeli borders in 2018 and recalls the importance to ensure full accountability in this framework. While the EU recognises Israel’s right to defend its legitimate security interests, we expect full compliance with international law, international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Hamas and those leading the protests in Gaza have a responsibility to avoid provocations and ensure that protests are not misused by extremist elements and remain strictly non-violent. The EU calls on all parties to take swift steps for a fundamental change to the political, security, economic and humanitarian and human rights situation in Gaza.

The EU has been following the recent developments in Jammu and Kashmir closely. We therefore encourage the Indian government to continue to lift remaining restrictions temporarily imposed and to maintain the constitutional rights and freedoms of the affected population. With regard to the regional situation, the EU encourages Pakistan and India to avoid further tensions and to refrain from provocations at the line of control. We urge both parties to engage in direct dialogue, with a view to a peaceful solution in line with the UN resolutions and the bilateral agreements between India and Pakistan.
Mr President,

We see no positive change on the ground with ongoing and regular attacks and human rights violations and abuses in Mali. We call on the Malian authorities to ensure the swift and effective investigations of all attacks in order to bring perpetrators to justice. Also, we encourage the Malian authorities to prevent further violence and to ensure full compliance with international law, including international human rights law, to pursue reconciliation, justice and democratic governance, and to continue cooperating with the international community, including the OHCHR. The human rights situation in Mali is regularly taken up in our political dialogue, other bilateral contacts and statements, as well as within the framework of the EU-G5 Sahel dialogue. High Representative Federica Mogherini underlined in her mission early July the absolute priority of prosecuting perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses. We also support the OHCHR human rights compliance framework for the G5 Sahel Joint Force and its police component.

Acute and persisting violence in the North West and South West provinces of Cameroon, restrictions in the political space, as well as heightened political tensions, remain a serious concern. The humanitarian consequences of the conflict are severe. The EU firmly condemns all disproportionate use of violence against civilians and State representatives, as well as human rights violations and abuses, and urges the Government of Cameroon to uphold the principle of the rule of law. It is important to ensure impartial and thorough investigations into alleged human rights violations and abuses. The trial before a military court of Maurice Kamto and other members of the opposition is against international law. The EU reiterates the need for due process and transparency. The EU stands ready to support all efforts in this regard.

The EU shares the concerns of the High Commissioner regarding the ongoing events in Hong Kong. The EU recalls its close relations with Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and its strong stake in its continued stability and prosperity. We support the High Commissioner's call for the demonstrations to remain peaceful and for the respect of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of assembly. We underscore the need for all sides to refrain from violence and for a broad-based and inclusive dialogue to restore calm in Hong Kong.

Thank you.

*The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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