EU priorities for the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council

09/09/2019 - 09:43
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From 9 to 27 September 2019 the EU will participate actively in the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC42) taking place in Geneva.

The EU will continue to closely partner with the United Nations to promote and strengthen multilateralism and the rules-based international order. "In times where some are calling the universality of human rights into question and civil society space is shrinking, a strong engagement in the promotion and protection of human rights is needed and at the core of the EU's partnership with the UN," says Ambassador Walter Stevens, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva. "The EU will continue to be a leading player in the Human Rights Council and actively promote human rights for all."

At the upcoming session, the EU will present a resolution on the human rights situation in Burundi, where serious human rights violations and abuses continue to be perpetrated in a climate of widespread impunity, some of which may constitute crimes against humanity. The recent report by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi also denounces the aggravating economic and political crisis and a deepening repression of civil and political rights.  It is therefore crucial that the HRC continues to address this situation, including in view to preventing further violence, particularly in the context of general elections foreseen in 2020. To this end, the EU will aim at renewing the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry for another year.

The human rights situation in Myanmar remains of grave concern to us and it is important that the Council continues to speak on this matter with a strong voice. We welcome that the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar has been declared operational and we look forward to its first report to the Human Rights Council. The EU also stands ready to respond to the forthcoming reports of the Fact-Finding Mission and looks forward to working in partnership with other concerned delegations on this important matter.

It is important that the human rights situation in Syria remains under the scrutiny of the Human Rights Council, as widespread human rights abuses and violations of International Humanitarian Law continue unabated in the country. We will therefore continue to engage with and support partners in their efforts to present a resolution that is substantial and reflects the reality on the ground.

The political crisis and economic collapse in Venezuela continues to take a heavy toll in the population. The recently published report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, confirms in a clear and detailed manner the extent and seriousness of the human rights violations, the erosion of the rule of law and the dismantlement of democratic institutions in the country. At HRC42 we will therefore continue to actively support efforts from the OHCHR and the countries of the region to promote the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Venezuela.

The Human Rights Council should also continue to pay attention to the situation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where President Tshisekedi has taken positive steps in view of a political opening but a serious human situation persists, especially in the provinces of the Kasais, Ituri and Kivus. Furthermore, developments of the human rights situation in the post-election phase, including on the respect for political rights, should be assessed. Sexual and gender-based violence also continues to be of concern to us.

The EU remains concerned about the human rights situations in South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan. With Sudan in particular embarking on a civilian-led transition, the EU is committed to engage with the transitional authorities and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the human rights issues in Sudan are comprehensively addressed and monitored.

The EU will furthermore continue its active participation in the interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on the findings of the periodic reports of the OHCHR on the situation of human rights in Ukraine.

The EU has repeatedly expressed its concern with the continuing deterioration of human rights and humanitarian situation in Yemen. The Human Rights Council must continue to address the ongoing human rights violations and violations of International Humanitarian Law. The EU will therefore strongly support the ongoing work of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts.

We will continue to strongly oppose and condemn any forms of intimidation, harassment or reprisals against person cooperating with the UN system and we fully support the mandate and work of the UN Assistant Secretary General in this regard. We will therefore actively support the resolution on "Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights."  As another thematic priority of this session, the EU will also strongly support a resolution focussing on the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of the death penalty.

The EU Delegation is pleased to co-sponsor an event organised by the Committee on the Rights of the Child on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The event entitled "30 years of children rights: where we are and where we want to be" will take place on 16 September at the Palais des Nations. We will also co-sponsor a side event entitled "Abolition strategies in sub-Saharan Africa & private sector and the death penalty" taking place on 12 September. We will further co-sponsor a side event focussing on the human rights situation in Syria.

All EU statements and intervention at the Human Rights Council will published on the EU Delegation's website. Updates will also be regularly posted on the EU Delegation's Twitter account @EU_UNGeneva.