At a time when human rights are under more strain than ever, when democracy is facing serious challenges and the space for civil society is curtailed, including by states using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext for disrespecting the rule of law and international commitments, it is ever more crucial that the Human Rights Council addresses human rights violations and important global challenges.
The situation in Belarus continues to deteriorate. The brutal crackdown of peaceful demonstrators by the authoritarian Belarusian regime has been followed by the systematic repression of civil society activists, human rights defenders and of independent media. “One of our major priorities is to ensure that the perpetrators of the human rights violations, including systematic use of torture, are held accountable for their action,” said Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva. At HRC47, the EU will present a resolution, which aims at extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, Ms Anaïs Marin, and calls on the Belarusian authorities to implement her recommendations and grant her unrestricted access to the country. The resolution will address the long-standing human rights violations on the ground, as well as the recent developments, such as the increasingly restrictive legal framework for the media, journalists and bloggers, and on mass events, effectively banning any political manifestations critical of the regime. The resolution will also strongly condemn the forced landing of a civilian aircraft in Minsk on 23 May 2021, representing a major attack on air passenger and carrier safety and on the sovereignty of states.
More than seven months into the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, allegations of atrocities and serious human rights violations and abuses continue to come in, including reports of sexual violence against women and girls. The EU is gravely concerned about these allegations as well as about the alarming humanitarian and food crisis. “The international community cannot remain silent in the light of such a serious situation,” says EU Ambassador Knudsen. At HRC47 we will therefore work with all stakeholders and partners to advance accountability and reconciliation.
The EU also remains deeply worried about the human rights situation in Eritrea, which requires continuous monitoring. We will hence present a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. We are particularly concerned about the reported involvement of Eritrean military forces in the widely reported human rights violations in the conflict in Tigray.
The EU condemns in the strongest terms the military coup in Myanmar and all violations of human rights, which have pushed Myanmar’s democratic transition backwards several years. We reiterate our call for the cessation of violence, the immediate release of all those detained in connection with the coup, and for the restoration of the democratic institutions. The EU has been in the lead on the HRC Special Session on Myanmar in February and a resolution in the March HRC session. At HRC47, will continue our efforts to keep Myanmar high on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, in close cooperation with our partners.
Addressing global issues, we will be leading a joint statement at HRC47 on the interdependence between human rights, a healthy environment and combating climate change. Especially in view of upcoming UN Climate Change and Biodiversity Conferences, which are expected to set the global agenda on these issues for the decade to come, we believe it is especially timely and important to stress the need to systematically integrate human rights in the global action to reverse biodiversity loss and combat climate change and reiterate our commitment to adopt ambitious rights-based approaches.
In this HRC Session the EU will vigorously promote efforts towards gender equality, the full enjoyment of all human rights by all women and girls and their empowerment, in line with its international commitments. The EU will advocate for strong and gender-responsive language in all resolutions, both thematic and country-specific and actively participate in the Annual Debate on the theme of ‘Violence against women and girls with disabilities’ and 'Gender-equal socioeconomic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic'.
We will also actively support the resolution on civil society space, taking into account the significant impact of Covid-19 on civil society space and the positive contribution civil society has made in the response to, and recovery from the pandemic. The EU will also continue to use all opportunities in interactive dialogues to raise its concerns about civil society space and the protection of human rights defenders.
The EU will also participate actively in the Panel marking the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and continue providing support to the Working Group on Business and Human Rights in its efforts to develop and implement a renewed roadmap in the coming years.
All EU interventions and statements will be posted on the EU Delegation's website. For further updates follow the EU Delegation's Twitter and Instagram account @EU_UNGeneva.