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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, North Macedonia, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
We thank the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner and her office for the reports under item 3 and would like to share our views on some of the thematic issues.
The EU commends the High Commissioner for her report on empowering children with disabilities for the enjoyment of their human rights. This important topic will be the subject of the annual resolution which the GRULAC and EU will jointly present during this session, with a special focus on inclusive education, and we look forward to its consensual adoption.
We thank the High Commissioner for the report on the annual full day discussion on the human rights of women, held in June 2018. The EU remains highly committed to achieving gender equality and will continue to work for the full enjoyment of all human rights by all women and girls. The empowerment of women remains a priority of our action.
The anniversaries this year of both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women offers us the opportunity not just to take stock of the progress made since their adoption, but also to renew our firm commitment towards the full implementation of these Conventions worldwide. At the 25th anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the EU remains committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the outcomes of their review conferences and remains committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights, in this context.
The EU welcomes the annual thematic study of the OHCHR on the rights of persons with disabilities. We encourage states to establish or strengthen legal frameworks and policies to achieve comprehensive, high-quality habilitation and rehabilitation services designed to ensuring the independence of persons with disabilities and their full participation in society.
The EU reaffirms that all human rights are to be realized worldwide, whether they are civil and political, or economic, social and cultural rights and we welcome the annual report of the Secretary General on this topic. The EU agrees that empowering people to claim their rights and ensuring equality and inclusiveness are key elements of a human-rights based approach to sustainable development, as well as the principles of non-discrimination, participation, openness, transparency and accountability. This must also include an enabling environment for civil society, allowing it to contribute meaningfully to the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, we also welcome the summary report of the Chair on the 2019 intersessional meeting for dialogue and cooperation on human rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The EU thanks the High Commissioner for her report on the rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities. Fighting all forms of oppression, exclusion and discrimination, taking firm action against incitement to hatred and violence against persons belonging to minorities are essential steps to reach a truly inclusive society.
The EU welcomes the reports of the Secretary General on the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture and on the special fund established by the OPCAT and reaffirms its long-standing commitment to fighting against torture and ill-treatment including through contributions to the two funds.
Finally, the EU takes note of the report of the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the 4th session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. The EU participated constructively in the 4th session. We regret that our comments to the draft report were not accurately accommodated and that the full version of our last intervention was not uploaded on the Intergovernmental Working Group's website. We reiterate our commitment to effective multilateralism and an inclusive process and outcome, acceptable to a large number of States. The European Union is committed to working with all partners to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a commitment reaffirmed in the recent Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on "EU priorities in human rights fora" of 18 February.
Thank you, Mr President.
 North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.