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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs calls for collective action at the Human Rights Council

Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson addresses the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. - mynd

Iceland’s Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson stressed the importance of collective action to address the regression of human rights as he delivered Iceland’s speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.  

The Minister’s speech, which was delivered through a video statement, constitutes a part of the High-Level Segment of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council that commenced at the start of the week with opening speeches from prominent UN leaders, including the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.  

The universal protection of human rights and the importance of promoting unity around democracy and freedom were among the key areas of the Minister’s address.  

In his speech, the Minister highlighted the serious threats facing the international community due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine as well as the horrific conflict in the Middle East.  

The Minister also expressed grave concern about rising polarization and the rapid decline of the human rights situation in numerous regions across the globe. " We must work together to reverse the serious backsliding of human rights we have witnessed lately, and secure the universal human rights of all people," said the Minister. 

Furthermore, the Minister reiterated Iceland's priorities for its candidature for the Human Rights Council 2025 to 2027 as elections take place at the UN General Assembly in New York this fall.  

"If elected, Iceland will actively contribute to the Council’s core mandate of advancing the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people and addressing human rights violations and abuses," said the Minister, who emphasized other priority areas of Iceland’s candidacy to the Council - the rights of women and girls, LGBTI persons, children and youth, and the environment.  

Anna Jóhannsdóttir, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, participated on behalf of Iceland in the opening session of the Ministerial Segment of the Human Rights Council.  

The Deputy Secretary General attended several other events during the Ministerial Segment, including a special event hosted by Ukraine commemorating that two years have passed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an event hosted by Palestine addressing the impact of the conflict in Gaza on the current human rights situation in the country.  


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