"We gather here with the ambition to make small steps towards a more dignified humanity. But we must guard against a danger: the effort to portray all countries as equally flawed and, consequently, to cultivate a sense of relativism and futility surrounding the pursuit of human rights. Indeed, while no State has a "perfect" human rights record, there is a fundamental difference between States, that have a minimum safeguards in place to ensure that their imperfections cannot be swept under the carpet, and those that do not, " Mr Lambrinidis said.
He continued his intervention by highlighting the four resolutions, which the EU will present at this Council session. The EU will lead a resolution on Freedom of Religion and Believe, promoting the freedom of conscience, thought, religion or belief, condemning intolerance, discrimination and violence, including against persons belonging to religious and other minorities across the world. This year the EU will also, together with the Latin American and Caribbean Group, put forward a resolution focussing on the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Together with Japan the EU will present a strong and clear resolution addressing the grave human rights situation in the DPRK. Turning to Myanmar, Mr Lambrinidis said that the EU will lead a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, taking note of positive steps and recommending actions to address ongoing concerns.
In his statement Mr Lambrinidis also underlined the EU's concerns of the human rights situation in Burundi, South Sudan, DRC and Iran. He furthermore highlighted the EU's commitment to gender equality as well as the fight against the death penalty and torture.
"The EU continues to give high priority to a safe environment for human rights NGOs and human rights defenders and to oppose the imposition of unjustified restrictions on their activities. The free functioning of civil society is fundamental for democracy, prosperity and sustainable security, helping build political stability," the EUSR said and concluded: "This Council carries a major responsibility in the eyes of the citizens of the world. It is the shared duty of the international community to keep the work of this Council rooted in facts, in the situations on the ground, and to reject any attempt to divert or weaken its work. The EU remains committed to engaging in the spirit of partnership and cooperation with partners from all regions to reach lasting solutions that advance human rights".
You can read the full statement here