Tag Archives: Human Rights

Interactive Dialogue On The OHCHR Report Of The Human Rights Monitoring Mission In Ukraine

The UK delivered a statement during the interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in Geneva on 15 December 2017

The session takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The session takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The UK welcomes the 20th OHCHR report of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. The temporary decrease in fighting and the related casualties highlighted in this report shows that the situation on the ground can be improved if there is a will to do so. However, the return to an increase in fighting shows that without a genuine ceasefire or the removal of heavy weapons the likelihood of sudden and violent increases in fighting remains. The shelling of critical civilian infrastructure and facilities liable to produce humanitarian and ecological catastrophe should be stopped.

The UK notes with deep concern the continuing reports of arbitrary detentions, torture and ill treatment on both sides of the contact line. The ongoing activities of illegal parallel state structures in areas controlled by Russian backed separatists, including the ‘pronouncement’ of a second ‘death penalty’ in the so called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and the re-arresting of an individual every 30 days for the last 8 months to keep him in pre-trial detention, are also deeply worrying.

The report details ongoing human rights violations and abuses in illegally annexed Crimea. These violations and abuses target the Crimean Tatar minority as well as those who advocate Crimea’s rightful place as a part of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders. Reported violations include the arrest of 49 Crimean Tatars for single person protests, arrests apparently in violation of the laws of the Russian Federation applied by the de facto authorities. The de facto authorities continue to deny international monitoring organisations access, preventing a true independent assessment of the human rights situation. We continue to call on the Russian Federation to grant access, in line with UN General Assembly resolution 71/205.

What has been the effect of the increase in bureaucratic obstructions put on the provision of humanitarian assistance across the contact line by the Russian backed separatists?

Has the OHCHR received reports of other religious minorities suffering persecution similar to that endured by Jehovah’s witnesses in separatist controlled Donetsk and Luhansk?

“I Repeat The United Kingdom’s Call For North Korea To Allow Human Rights Actors Immediate And Unhindered Access To Assess The Human Rights Situation”

Statement by Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representatives to the UN, at the Security Council meeting on human rights in the DPRK

Matthew Rycroft

Matthew Rycroft

Thank you Mr President.

And thank you also to High Commissioner Zeid and Merislav Jenca for their harrowing words on the dire situation in the DPRK. Sadly it is unsurprising that the regime maintains a stranglehold on every aspect of its citizens’ lives. The United Kingdom, like other Security Council members, views the human rights situation in North Korea with deep concern and dismay.

The regime’s treatment of its own people is yet another example of its unashamed contempt of the international rules based system.

That is why we fully support the Security Council’s wish to draw attention to the shameful living conditions of the North Korean people as well as to North Korea’s illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, which we have condemned in Resolutions 2371 and 2375.

We must maintain international focus on the human rights situation in North Korea through both the UN in New York and the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

We welcome the UN visit last week and we encourage the regime to engage in a meaningful way.

Evidence of the leadership’s appalling behaviour towards its own people is impossible to ignore.

People lack freedom of religion and expression. They have minimal control over their livelihoods and resources. The state controls what they see, what they consume and how they behave, using the threat of extreme punishment to keep people under its thumb.

Naysayers are disappeared, or jailed, or publicly executed to demonstrate the price of freedom. The Global Slavery Index estimates that more than a million people are victims of modern slavery.

Yet we know from defector testimonies that, despite the fear instilled in every North Korean, there are many brave individuals who would rather take their chances fleeing than remain gagged and bound by the regime.

Like the soldier who recently defected across the Demilitarised Zone. His daring escape was act of desperation as well as of hope. His starved physical condition speaks volumes about the standards of health and welfare in a country that professes to put the military first. And therefore how it treats those who are most vulnerable.

We urge all Members not to return defectors back to this miserable situation. This sends a message that we condone the behaviour.

We also urge all Members not to profit from the people of North Korea’s misery by employing North Korean nationals who are sent abroad to generate foreign currency, which is used by the regime to fund its illegal missile programmes, as stated in Resolution 2321.

The systematic violations of human rights by the regime goes beyond its own citizens or borders. The death of US citizen Otto Warmbier following his detention; the 17 Japanese nationals abducted by the regime; the assassination of Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia. These are all examples of the North Korean regime’s contempt for the international rules based system.

This contempt is further exemplified by the regime’s denial of access to independent observers of the human rights situation. Or to engage in meaningful dialogue. Or to act on the 2014 Commission of Inquiries Report that highlighted “wide ranging and ongoing crimes against humanity”. The regime has rejected the Third Committee Resolution that called upon it to respect the basic rights of its people.

Today, I repeat the United Kingdom’s call for North Korea to allow human rights actors immediate and unhindered access to assess the human rights situation in the country.

Our message to the regime must be clear and united. We must use all the diplomatic and economic tools at our disposal to deliver this message.

There is a very different path that is still open to the regime. This path leads to security and prosperity. It leads to improved lives for their citizens. All the members of this Council and beyond, must work together to persuade the North Korean leadership to pursue this path.

To do so it must end illegal missile tests. It must genuinely engage with the international community. It must take serious steps to improve the human rights situation for all its citizens.

Real positive change to the livelihoods of the North Korean people will not happen overnight. But it will not happen at all for as long as North Korea pursues its current course.

Mr President, we are committed to working with partners on the Council, and beyond, to tackle this challenge. The world looks to us all, and above all the North Korean regime, to support a change for the better.

Thank you.

Foreign Secretary Statement On Human Rights Day

Foreign Secretary makes a statement on Human Rights Day

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Speaking on Human Rights Day, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Human Rights Day reminds us that it can be easy to take for granted many of the freedoms we enjoy in the UK.

The freedom to be who you want, love who you want, worship or not worship and to live your life as you please is denied to millions across the globe.

Everywhere I go in the world where we have concerns about human rights I raise these frankly because we believe that engagement is the best way to encourage reform.

Standing up for human rights is not only the right thing; it also helps to create a safer, more prosperous and progressive world. This is what Global Britain stands for. And promoting, championing and defending human rights is integral to the work of the Foreign Office and part of the everyday work of all British diplomats.

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EU Delegation To China Statement On International Human Rights Day 2017

The UK fully supports the local statement by the Delegation of the European Union on International Human Rights Day

European Union Flag

European Union Flag

On 10 December the international community marks the anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This Declaration, which all UN members including China have agreed to uphold, states that each and every one of us has the right to freedom of thought, freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Here in Beijing, each of us continues to witness first-hand China’s success in improving the lives of its citizens. We witness, for example, the significant improvements in the Chinese people’s standard of living and in access to social services such as health and education. We also witness improvements in the sphere of some civil rights, such as a continuing effort to combat and prevent domestic violence. We welcome the commitment by the Chinese authorities to ensure legal representation for greater numbers of criminal defendants, and we hope that the new system that will replace the shuanggui system will ensure basic rights for all civil servants, including the right to legal representation.

However, we remain extremely concerned about China’s ongoing denial to its citizens of other fundamental human rights under the Declaration. During the past year, we have been deeply troubled by the deterioration of the situation with respect to freedom of information and freedom of expression and association, including with respect to online activity. The arrest, detention and conviction of human rights defenders, lawyers and other citizens exercising fundamental human rights, such as freedom of religion and belief, including in Xinjiang and Tibet, have continued. We regret the death in detention of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, and are also concerned about the recent conviction of human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong and the detention of human rights defenders Ilham Tohti, Wang Quanzhang, Wu Gan, Tashi Wangchuk, Li Yuhan and Huang Qi, each of whom was detained in connection with their promotion of fundamental human rights. We call for China to immediately end the detention and harassment of these and other Chinese citizens and human rights defenders and their family members. All criminal defendants should have access to lawyers of their own choosing and to their family members, and should not be subjected to forced and public confessions, torture or other mistreatment. While recognising the progress made in registering foreign NGOs during 2017, we also call on China to make additional efforts to allow foreign and domestic NGOs to register and operate freely and effectively. Finally, we continue to be concerned about the lack of effective implementation of China’s Criminal Procedure Law, as well as the adoption of laws which are incompatible with China’s other obligations and international commitments.

All of us know from first-hand experience the difficult and never-ending work of promoting and protecting the full spectrum of human rights. The Chinese authorities have made commitments to promote law-based governance and the creation of a modern and prosperous society. The respect and promotion of the full range of human rights is not only consistent with these aims, but in our view necessary for their full achievement. In the coming year, a core part of our engagement will include working with China to promote human rights under the Universal Declaration.

Mexico And The United States Of America Strengthen Their Bilateral Dialogue And Cooperation For The Promotion And Protection Of Human Rights

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The United States and Mexico held the 9th annual Bilateral High Level Dialogue on Human Rights today at the State Department in Washington, D.C.

As strong bilateral partners and close neighbors, authorities from Mexico and the United States participated in a frank and constructive dialogue on human rights, both at the bilateral and multilateral level. Both countries stressed their commitment to strengthen cooperation, reaffirm joint values, and continue to work together in the effective promotion and protection of human rights.

The dialogue covered a wide range of issues, including actions to prevent and eradicate torture and disappearances, and to protect human rights defenders and journalists, noting the important work of civil society in these efforts. Both countries discussed the death penalty and consular notification; the rights of migrants and the use of force at the border; and the criminal justice system. Both sides agreed on the importance of prosecuting individuals engaged in human rights violations and reaffirmed their commitment to comply with their international obligations. They recognized the important recent passage of General Laws on Torture and Disappearances in Mexico.

Mexico and the United States also discussed cooperation on the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, as well as the Organization of American States, to strengthen their relevance for addressing global and regional challenges to human rights, gender equality, and the promotion of democracy around the world and in our Hemisphere.

The Mexican delegation was led by Ambassador Miguel Ruiz-Cabañas Izquierdo, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Geronimo Gutierrez as well as officials from the ministries of Interior, Attorney General’s Office, and the Ministries of National Defense and Navy.

The United States’ delegation was headed by John Creamer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, and Michael G. Kozak, Senior Bureau Official of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department. Officials from the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense and the United States Agency for International Development also participated in the dialogue.

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