Reaction to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights global update

Statement at the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council

General Debate on the High Commissioner’s update

Delivered by Lisa Majumdar

Thank you, Mr President, and High Commissioner.

We congratulate Volker Turk on his appointment to High Commissioner. The sheer breadth of countries and issues on the agenda of this session is a reflection of global human rights challenges and emerging crises today.

The invasion of Ukraine and the conflict in Ethiopia which have resulted in grave human rights violations have underscored a key role for the UN in preventing violence and ensuring justice for victims. Recognising and addressing deteriorating situations has never been so important: both through preventive diplomacy, and by taking stronger action towards accountability. Civil society can be an essential partner in these endeavours, and in welcoming the new High Commissioner we look forward to his meaningful engagement with independent civil society and human rights defenders across the world.

A strong and robust civil society is vital for the advancement of human rights, and there are significant opportunities for the advancement of civic space and the protection of civil society at this session. Thematically, the Council can reaffirm the importance of respecting human rights while countering terrorism, and advance norms and standards on the safety of journalists.

On country situations, the Council must take stronger action to address the worsening human rights situation in Afghanistan, particularly for women and girls. The Council must renew its mechanisms on Burundi, Ethiopia and Venezuela, while ensuring continued OHCHR monitoring of the human rights situation in the Philippines and accountability in Sri Lanka. Its credibility depends on its ability to address a robust report on China, and to create a long overdue mechanism on Russia, which has clearly shown that ongoing and unchecked internal repression can have significant global implications.

Now is the time for the new High Commissioner, and this Council, to stand up and resolutely address these challenges.

We thank you.


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