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I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the EU Member States that are members of the Council, and agreed by all EU Member States.
The EU remains strongly committed to promoting respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, achieving sustainable and inclusive development and eradicating poverty; working towards ensuring security, conflict prevention and resolution; and protecting and strengthening the rule of law, good governance, gender equality, accountability and equitable, sustainable and inclusive globalisation. These principles are reflected in the EU’s founding treaties, its Global Strategy and a series of strategic documents, such as the recently adopted New European Consensus on Development.
The EU and its Member States, the largest providers of Official Development Assistance in the world, consider that sustainable and inclusive development and human rights are interlinked, mutually reinforcing and complementary. We also wish to underline the importance the EU attaches to the integrity and accuracy of universally agreed instruments and documents such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and all the core international human rights treaties, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We are therefore concerned that the draft resolution introduced by China aims to construct an unhelpful narrative which would elevate the process of development above human rights.
The EU has a rights-based approach to sustainable and inclusive development encompassing all human rights and all persons. Human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance on one hand and inclusive and sustainable development on the other are the two basic and mutually reinforcing pillars of the EU’s development policy.
As enshrined in Art. 10 of the Vienna Declaration, development facilitates the enjoyment of all human rights, however the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. We underline that sustainable and inclusive development cannot be achieved without respect for and protection and fulfilment of all human rights. Our rights-based approach to sustainable and inclusive development aims to strengthen the enjoyment of all human rights for all persons, while also contributing to improved quality and effectiveness of development results and outcomes. This approach is premised on human rights principles and standards being both a means for and a goal of sustainable and inclusive development.
The rights-based approach to development cooperation is based on the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of human rights and the principles of inclusion and participation in decision-making processes, inter-dependence and inter-relatedness, non-discrimination, equality, transparency and accountability. These principles are central to EU development cooperation and we remain committed to ensuring the empowerment of all individuals, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable.
We have engaged with China in informal and small group meetings on this initiative with the resolute aim to build consensus around this very important issue. We appreciate China’s willingness to engage in search of common ground, but in the end unfortunately our main concerns, particularly around selectivity in references from universally agreed instruments and documents; as well as the placement of the process of development in a hierarchy above human rights, were not accommodated.
For this reason, the European Union cannot support the presented resolution on 'The contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights', calls for a vote, will vote against this resolution and calls on Members of the Council to vote against it.