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Human Rights Council, 29th Session: UK Statement item 2

Statement by the UK Mission Geneva at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva.

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The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Credit: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre.

We thank the High Commissioner and his team and align ourselves with the EU statement.

We remain gravely concerned about the erosion of human rights in a number of countries, including in Syria, South Sudan, Iran, Burma and DPRK, which we will address later this session.

The UK remains committed to supporting the people of Iraq and Syria, who face a severe threat from ISIL. The human rights abuses committed by ISIL are horrific. Attacks against individuals based on there religious or ethnic affiliation, sexual and gender based violence, and the use of children as participants in the armed conflict, underline ISIL’s utter disregard for human rights and international law. We are also disturbed by the continued reports of human rights abusers committed by volunteer Popular Mobilisation Forces and other Shia militias, and by reports of violations committed by the Iraqi Security Forces. While we welcome the progress Prime Minister Abadi has made, and his commitment to addressing human rights abuses and violations, and holding those responsible to account, it is important that these commitments are translated into action.

The UK also condemns the appalling atrocities committed by Boko Haram and welcomes recent progress made against this terrorist group. It is important that all operations against Boko Haram are conducted in accordance with international human rights law and we welcome President Buhari’s commitments to doing so.

The UK and the world are watching the situation in Burundi. We urge the government of Burundi to respect the Arusha Accords and the human rights of all Burundians. We call on the government to create a environment for credible, inclusive and peaceful elections.

Turning to Egypt, we are concerned about the recent trials of political figures and activists, and reports of torture and inhumane conditions in detention. It is vital that the Egyptian authorities ensure that the rights of all defendants are protected and that any judicial decisions are objective, transparent, and carried out in accordance with the law.

We also remain concerned about widespread violations in Yemen. The conflict has further impeded the legitimate Yemeni authorities’ and civil society’s capacity to protect human rights. Ultimately, the solution to the conflict must be political, and we welcome the start of UN political consultations in Geneva.

The UK marks the further steps on reform to date and continues to encourage the Government of Bahrain to build on these and further enhance its cooperation with OHCHR, including through visits by Special Rapporteurs.

And finally, the UK supported the deferral of your office’s report on Sri Lanka. It is crucial for long-term reconciliation that any mechanisms for reconciliation and justice are subject to broad consultation with all affected communities.

Published 17 June 2015