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General Debate: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Human Rights Council – 54th session

Item 4 General Debate: Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Statement by Iceland

26 September 2023


Mr. President,

Iceland reiterates its condemnation, in the strongest possible terms, of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine with mounting evidence of war crimes and other violations of international human rights and humanitarian law resulting in atrocious human suffering and loss of life.

In Russia, the widespread and systematic curtailment of human rights and crackdown on civic space is of serious concern. We continue to condemn the severe limitation on freedom of opinion and expression, crackdown on independent media and all types of opposition.

In Belarus, we are gravely concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation, including continuous systemic repression and politically motivated sentencing of civil society, including human rights defenders, and political opponents for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

In Afghanistan, we condemn the Taliban for their systematic discrimination against women and girls which may amount to gender persecution, a crime against humanity.

Iceland reiterates its concern about the serious human rights situation in China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet. We urge China to abide by its obligations under international human rights law, especially the right to freedom of expression and the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

In Iran, we are deeply concerned about reports of authorities reinforcing actions to quell dissent, including through surveillance technology, and the exacerbating punitive measures against those exercising their fundamental rights. We urge the authorities to repeal the new Chastity and Hijab Bill and to eliminate, in law and in practice, the systemic discrimination against women and girls in public and private life.

In closing, Iceland refers to Nordic-Baltic statements made in the interactive dialogues under item 4, including on Russia, Syria, Belarus and Myanmar.

I thank you.


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