Summary: 26 September 2014, Geneva – Human rights, universal and indivisible, are a core value of the European Union. During the 27th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), the EU once again confirmed its stance as a strong and vocal defender of human rights around the globe, and an advocate of a responsive and independent UN human rights system.
One of the silver threads of our policy is support to civil society. In light of increasingly sustained attempts to restrict NGO participation in the HRC, the EU seeks to maintain the Council as an open and inclusive forum where civil society as well as states can express themselves. The EU stood firmly behind the cross-regional resolution, adopted by consensus, on this subject.
Sudan: One of the EU’s key objectives for this session was to achieve a robust resolution on Sudan. This has been achieved, with a text that contains strong language on human rights violations, and calls for accountability for perpetrators of such acts. Crucially the resolution also extends by one year the mandate of the independent expert who, in addition to providing technical assistance and capacity building, has been mandated to “assess, verify, and report” on the situation of human rights.
South Sudan: The EU remains seriously concerned by the human rights situation in South Sudan, and believes that it merits a UN country specific mandate in complement of the regional efforts, such as by the African Union Commission of Inquiry. This was our message during the High-level Panel discussion on South Sudan, and we will continue press for the creation of such a mandate ahead of the March session of the HRC.
Syria: The HRC adopted its 15th Resolution on the situation in Syria. Despite the duration of the conflict, the Council must remain seized of the matter. The EU strongly supported a text which condemns the grave deterioration of the human rights situation in the country and all violations of international humanitarian law, and contains a strong call for accountability for all perpetrators of violations and abuses, including those committed by extremist groups such as the so-called ISIL. The EU also participated in the interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry, and maintains that it is vital for its members to gain immediate, safe and unfettered access into the Syrian Arab Republic.
Central African Republic: The EU welcomes the substantial resolution adopted, which accurately reflects the dire human rights situation on the ground and extends the clear mandate of the independent expert, extended for another year. With the firm encouragement of the EU the resolution also foresees for June 2015 an interactive dialogue focused specifically on the fight against impunity.
Democratic Republic Congo: Given the grave situation on the ground, and in light of the OHCHR report on technical assistance presented during this session, the EU welcomes the resolution adopted by the Council, and in particular its decision to extend technical assistance to DRC for another year.
Ukraine: The EU welcomes the work of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, and took good note of the most recent report of the OHCHR on the human rights situation in the country as an objective account of events and circumstances. All sides should heed its recommendations. The EU welcomes the Minsk Protocol, all elements of which must now be fully implemented by all sides.
Thematic Human Rights Issues
The adoption by the Human Rights Council of the resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, at the initiative of a group of Latin American states, was a landmark achievement at this session. Its purpose is to state unambiguously that no-one should face violence or discrimination on the grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The resolution simply underlines that all people are indeed “Born Free and Equal”. The EU looks forward to the High Commissioner’s report, as requested by this resolution. The adoption of this resolution responded to one of the EUs foremost priorities. No society can be considered free and inclusive as long as the freedom of civil society is not guaranteed.
The EU also made clear its firm stance against female genital mutilation, supporting the resolution on this scourge. This practice is a violation of the human rights and dignity of women and girls, as well as a serious threat to their health. We commend the leadership of the African group in intensifying efforts against female genital mutilation, which must be eliminated worldwide.
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