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Human Rights Council 31, UK Statement under Item 4, 15 March 2016

United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland, Statement under Item 4 - Human Rights Council 31, 15 March 2016

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

Thank you, Mr. President.

The UK supports the EU statement and would like to make some national remarks.

The UK is appalled that breaches of human rights and humanitarian law in Syria continue unabated. The Commission of Inquiry’s latest reports highlights the brutal and appalling violations carried out by the Syrian regime and the horrific abuses by Daesh. We continue to call for those alleged to be responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, irrespective of affiliation, to be referred to the ICC so they can be held to account.

It is incomprehensible that the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to prioritise the development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes over the well-being of its own people. We call on the government of the DPRK to engage substantively with the international community on human rights. Specifically, we hope that the DPRK government will re-engage with the Human Rights Council, given their notable absence from this session.

The UK is increasingly concerned about the situation in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. In eastern Ukraine, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission has received disturbing allegations of a growing level of extra-judicial killings, torture, ill-treatment, illegal detention and forced labour. The human rights situation in illegally annexed Crimea has deteriorated significantly, including the intimidation of minorities such as the Crimean Tatars. We call on Russia and Russia-backed separatists to respect international law, and to allow access to international human rights monitoring agencies.

The UK remains very concerned about the situation in Sudan, especially violations and abuses of human rights and International Humanitarian Law in the conflicts in Darfur and the Two Areas.

Despite the signing of the peace agreement, violations and abuses of human rights continue in South Sudan. Attacks against civilians, including during the recent fighting in the UN protection of civilians site in Malakal, are appalling. Limitations on political space persist. The UK calls on the transitional government to take decisive action.

On the eve of the establishment of the new government in Burma, we welcome the historic November elections and the remarkable reform process underway. But that process is not yet complete, and the incoming government faces many serious human rights challenges. It is important that the international community continues to support and encourage Burma to begin tackling these, particularly the desperate situation of the Rohingya community and efforts towards national reconciliation and building a sustainable, comprehensive peace.

The UK urges Iran to implement its international commitments fully, and to respect the rights of all its citizens.

The UK remains concerned about the human rights situation in Eritrea. We urge the government to take concrete action, including limiting National Service to 18 months. We welcome Eritrea’s renewed engagement with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and encourage increased cooperation with other UN human rights bodies.

The UK remains concerned by the inadequacy of due legal process and transparency of justice in China. We urge China to protect civil and political rights in line with its constitution and international human rights commitments. We call on the authorities to release those individuals detained for seeking to protect the rights of others, including human rights lawyers. We also have serious concerns about the case of British Citizen Mr Lee Po, who our information indicates was involuntarily removed from Hong Kong.

Thank you Mr President.

Published 15 March 2016