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Thirtieth Session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, 14 September to 2 October 2015

UK statement delivered under Item 4 on 21 September 2015.

The UN building in Geneva
The Human Rights Council is taking place at the Palais des Nations, Geneva

Mr. President,

The UK supports the EU statement and has some additional remarks.

The human rights situation in Sudan remains a serious concern and the violence must be brought to an end. The continued harassment of opposition leaders and media restrictions, as well as restrictions on freedom of religion and belief, undermine the Government of Sudan’s commitment to inclusive, transparent and credible national dialogue.

We remain deeply troubled by the situation in South Sudan and the ceasefire violations. Accountability is fundamental to a lasting peace. Both parties to the conflict have failed to act on their public commitments. We urge the African Union’s Commission of Inquiry to publish its report into human rights abuses in full.

On Ukraine, we remain deeply concerned by the deterioration of the human rights situation in eastern Ukraine and illegally-annexed Crimea. We urge all parties to fully honour their obligations under the Minsk agreements as a first step towards a sustainable political solution.

In Burma, the November elections will be a litmus test for the reform process. The international community will be watching closely to support and encourage elections which are credible, inclusive, transparent, and underpinned by freedom of expression and respect for human rights.

The UK remains concerned by the restrictions on freedom of expression in China. This includes the recent detention of defence lawyers, such as Wang Yu. We urge the authorities to release these individuals and to uphold the right to the peaceful expression of views.

Turning to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the dire situation in Gaza must be addressed through practical steps in support of reconstruction and economic recovery and to prevent a further cycle of violence. In the West Bank, we continue to work with EU partners to oppose settlement building and demolitions. We urge the parties to comply with international law.

We remain concerned by the human rights situation in Iran, in particular the increased use of the death penalty, and restrictions on freedom of religion and belief. We urge Iran to abide by its international commitments, and ensure all citizens are afforded the rights and freedoms they are entitled to.

Last week, our Minister of State, Hugo Swire called on the United Nations to maintain pressure on the DPRK over its human rights violations. The panel discussion provides a good opportunity to do exactly this. Thank you.

Published 21 September 2015