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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Summary: 14 September 2015, Geneva – The 30th session of the Human Rights Council (“HRC30”), taking place from 14 September to 2 October 2015 in Geneva, will once again focus the international community on the issue of human rights across the world.

“As the main human rights body of the UN, the Council plays an indispensable role in shedding light on human rights violations, wherever they occur,” says Peter Sørensen, Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in Geneva. “We are witnessing grave and deteriorating human rights situations in a number of countries, including Sudan, Burundi, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen, to name only a few.  The Council also cannot fail to address long-standing and systematic human rights violations, such as those taking place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Finding solutions to the unprecedented migration and refugee crisis remains a top priority for the EU. While states bear primary responsibility for ensuring human rights, much of what is done on the ground relies on the brave work of civil society and human rights defenders. We value their work greatly and will continue to support them.”

The EU will actively participate in all discussions during the Council, putting an emphasis among other on the following country situations and thematic issues:

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK): The EU, together with Japan, has been consistently drawing attention of the Council to the human rights situation in DPRK, starting over a decade ago with a Special Rapporteur mandate and culminating with the creation of a Commission of Inquiry. The Commission’s 2014 report documented a long standing and ongoing pattern of systematic and widespread human rights violations which may amount to crimes against humanity, leading to the adoption of strong and clear resolutions in both the HRC and the UN General Assembly, including on accountability. As a result of the latest resolution from March 2015, a panel will be convened during this session to discuss the human rights situation in the country, including abductions and enforced disappearances, and propose strategies for action.

Burundi: Violence has escalated sharply, bringing humanitarian consequences for the whole region. In light of grave human rights violations, such as politically motivated assassinations, targeting of independent journalists, opposition members, and representatives of civil society, the EU will ensure that the human rights situation in Burundi remains on the Council’s agenda. We urge the Burundi authorities to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in line with their international commitments.  

Ukraine: The EU is deeply concerned by the human rights violations and continuously growing numbers of victims in eastern Ukraine, and by the unprecedented intimidation of the Crimean Tatars and those who oppose the de facto authorities. We will engage actively in the interactive dialogue on cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights, highly appreciating the work of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and reporting of the OHCHR.

With great concern, the EU has noted the grave human rights and humanitarian situations in Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic – protecting human rights and ending impunity is of utmost importance. In Syria, ensuring accountability, facilitating humanitarian access and strengthening the political process are crucial. We will also ensure that the Council remains seized with human rights dimension of the evolving conflict situation in Yemen. The EU will continue to promote reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.

Migration: Thousands of people across the world have no choice but to leave their homes and take high risks to escape poverty, conflict, and human rights violations. The migration crisis remains a key concern for the EU. We are committed to promote and protect the human rights of migrants, based on the principles of non-discrimination and equality which we value. A comprehensive approach is needed to address this emergency, involving countries of origin, transit and destination. In this spirit the EU, together with its African partners, is also preparing the Valetta Summit to be held in November 2015.

Women’s rights and Gender: As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the 15th anniversary of the UNSC resolution 1325, the EU will be ever more active to reaffirm and strengthen women’s rights across the world.

Indigenous peoples: The EU encourages all efforts to ensure full respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. We will actively participate in the panel discussion on the follow-up to and implementation of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

Alarmed by the profound threat that acts of violent extremism pose on human rights, and by grave violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by these groups, the Council will for the first time formally discuss preventing and countering Violent Extremism.

We support the Council´s continued attention to the abolition of the death penalty, a cruel and inhuman practice.

The EU is also co-organising two side-events during HRC30: a roundtable on Human Rights and the implementation of the Post-2015 development agenda, and a panel discussion organised jointly with the African union on Children in Armed Conflict.

  • Ref: EUUNG15-005EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum: Human Rights Council
  • Date: 14/9/2015

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