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Twenty-Seventh Session of the Human Rights Council, Geneva, 8 to 26 September 2014

Statement delivered by the UK Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, on the opening day of the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council.

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

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

Thank you Mr President. We align ourselves with the EU statement.

High Commissioner,

On behalf of the UK, I am delighted to welcome you to your new role. You take over at a time of a wide range of challenging and critical human rights situations - we will need your wisdom and experience as we tackle these. Human rights and human rights defenders are too often under attack. Your role and that of your office are vital to responding to this. The UK stands ready to support you. We thank OHCHR staff for their dedication. I would like to highlight a number of concerns in this general statement.

We remain gravely concerned about a number of critical human rights situations especially in Syria and South Sudan which we will address later this session.

We join you and colleagues in condemning the barbaric attacks carried out by ISIL in Northern Iraq and Syria. The Council is united in this. We welcome your support for the Iraq resolution adopted at the recent Special Session.

We share your concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and call on all sides to secure a durable ceasefire. We will address the human rights situation in the OPTs under our item 4 statement.

On Ukraine, we welcome the latest report on the human rights situation in Ukraine. We remain extremely concerned by the human rights abuses being committed by armed groups in separatist held parts of Eastern Ukraine. We call for a full and impartial investigation into all violations of international law. We share the concern expressed today in the HRC about the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

On Sudan, this Council should properly reflect the deteriorating human rights situation and mandate a stronger monitoring and reporting mechanism.

We support your call for the Government of Sri Lanka to cooperate with the international investigation mandated by this Council. We urge the Sri Lankan government to facilitate access and ensure those cooperating with the investigation can do so without fear or intimidation or reprisals.

We welcome Egypt’s commitment to safeguard the rights the Constitution. We look to the Egyptian Government to ensure full respect for the rule of law, media freedoms and a free environment for civil society, including releasing detained journalists and political activists , and to prevent the carrying out of the death penalty handed out in mass trials. We welcome Egypt’s commitment to an OHCHR office in Cairo and we look forward to this opening soon.

On Libya, we welcome the commitments that the Government made in the Council resolution earlier this year, but share your concerns about the political instability and continued violence. We urge all parties to agree an immediate ceasefire and engage in political dialogue.

High Commissioner, We support your comments on the importance of the sustainable development goals and on Ebola. We look forward to working with you and your Office on these important topics.

Thank you Madam President.

Published 8 September 2014