Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir Minister for Foreign Affairs addressed the beginning of the 52nd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on behalf of Iceland today.
The importance of safeguarding democracy, freedom and human rights was the focal point of the Minister’s address. The Minister also participated in a high-level pledging event on humanitarian crisis in Yemen and made a speech on behalf of the Nordic countries at an event in support of Ukraine.
The high-level week of the 52nd regular session of the UN Human Rights Council is currently ongoing. This afternoon, Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir delivered Iceland’s policy address on international human rights where she strongly criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and noted the horrendous consequences of the war and its widespread effects on human rights. „The invasion strikes at the heart of the UN Charter and the international rules-based order and is intended to undermine the fundamental human rights that all members states of the United Nations have undertaken to defend,“ said the Minister. She also mentioned the serious human rights violations committed by the authorities of Belarus and stated that Iceland would continue to stand in solidarity with the Belarusian opposition.
The Minister also called on the Taliban to respect human rights and end the oppression of women currently prevailing in Afghanistan. She also announced continuing support for the citizens of Iran who still remain subjected to brutal violence at the hands of the state. In her closing remarks, Minister Gylfadóttir reminded the assembly of the significance of human and individual rights “Let us not forget that the fundamental freedoms of individuals; including the freedom of assembly, expression, conscience and freedom of thought, are needed to fuel human creativity and innovation, which in turn are the foundation of economic and social progress.“
The Minister also gave a speech on behalf of the Nordic countries during a special event held by Ukraine to recognize the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In her address, the Minister reiterated the support of Iceland and the Nordic countries for the people of Ukraine and said that safeguarding democracy, human rights and the rule of law was a joint task for the whole world.
Minister Gylfadóttir also attended a high-level pledging event on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, where the majority of the population is in dire need for humanitarian assistance due to the long-term ongoing conflict in the country. During the conference, the Minister announced a pledge of 350 million ISK for the period of 2023–2025 and reconfirmed an older pledge of 95 million ISK for this year.