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Human Rights Council, Geneva : UK Statement, General Debate, 18 March 2014

The UK strongly believes that the current crisis in Ukraine must be resolved peacefully, based on the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as on strict adherence to international law.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The UN building 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.

The UK strongly believes that the current crisis in Ukraine must be resolved peacefully, based on the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as on strict adherence to international law. The UK is particularly concerned with the human rights situation in Crimea. The UK calls on all parties to ensure that citizens, including persons belonging to minority groups, are protected against intimidation and human rights violations. Along with the majority of the international community, the UK does not recognise the referendum, or its outcome.

The UK is appalled by the way that both the Assad regime and extremist groups have subjected the Syrian people to horrific crimes. We note that the recent Commission of Inquiry report clearly differentiated between extremist groups and other opposition forces, who are fighting for a democratic and pluralist Syria. The UK is clear that all those responsible for violations and abuses of human rights must be held accountable. We call for the situation in Syria to be referred to the ICC.

The international community can no longer ignore the appalling human rights violations committed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We call on the DPRK to take urgent action to address the Commission of Inquiry’s findings and to implement its recommendations. Action must be taken to hold perpetrators to account. This ultimately means a criminal investigation by a competent international organ of justice, such as the ICC.

The UK is concerned at the lack of progress on human rights in Iran under President Rouhani. The UK calls on Iran to respect the rights of all its citizens. We welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and urge Iran to allow him access to the country.

In Burma, further steps are needed to resolve citizenship for the Rohingya and to ensure security and freedom of movement for all communities in Rakhine State. We repeat our call for the opening of an OHCHR country office with a full monitoring mandate and for steps to be taken to address intimidation and threats to NGOs.

The UK remains concerned about the human rights situation in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region. We recall the Sudanese government’s primary responsibility to protect its citizens. In South Sudan, the UK deplores the recent human rights violations and abuses.

The UK remains concerned by restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly in China, and ongoing reports of restrictions on religious, cultural and language rights, particularly in Xinjiang and Tibetan areas. We urge the Chinese Government to engage in meaningful dialogue with ethnic minority communities to resolve grievances and to immediately release all those who peacefully advocate for ethnic minority rights.

Thank you.

Published 18 March 2014