Thank you, Mr Vice-President,
Two years ago, the United Kingdom delivered a joint statement entitled “A Race to the Top”. The statement underlined that this Council must continue to respond to deteriorating situations around the world. But it also urged us to acknowledge where this Council has made progress. Where countries have cooperated with this Council’s mechanisms, or proactively sought assistance from the international community.
Two years on, we need to do more to realise this vision. Could we better link development assistance to the Council’s work, in cooperation with OHCHR? Could we strengthen our political support, to better empower OHCHR to find creative ways of providing assistance? Measures such as these could help this Council to find practical means of answering calls from countries who seek support.
An example of a country tapping into support is Georgia. We welcome Georgia’s continued cooperation with OHCHR and regret that yet again access to its regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was denied by those in effective control of these areas. This is particularly alarming given concerns over increasing restrictions on freedom of movement affecting people’s access to education, healthcare and property, as well as ethnic discrimination in accessing identity documents giving full civic rights. We support OHCHR’s call for a transparent independent investigation into the death of Mr Tatunashvili whilst in custody in Tskhvinali.
We welcome the democratic outcome of Presidential elections in Maldives on 23 September and encourage the incoming Government to draw on the support of the OHCHR and the mechanisms of the Council as it seeks to build a democratic, peaceful, and fair society in Maldives.
OHCHR plays an essential role in preventing and addressing human rights violations and abuses, and flagging risks that can culminate in unspeakable atrocities of the kind that we have discussed in this Chamber during this session. We thank OHCHR for its work and strongly encourage all States to engage fully with OHCHR and with this Council.