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Joint Statements during the 55th session of the Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council – 55th session

High Level Side Event: 10 years of Russia’s assault on human rights and fundamental freedoms in Ukraine

Joint statement by the Marshall Islands on behalf of the Group of Friends of Accountability following the aggression against Ukraine

26 February 2024

Mr. President,

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the ‘Group of Friends of Accountability following the aggression against Ukraine,’ a cross-regional group consisting of 47 States and the European Union.

As we gather today in the comfort of the Palais des Nations our Ukrainian friends are facing another day of untold suffering at the hands of Russia. For those in Crimea and in parts of the Donbas, it’s been ten years.

The humanitarian needs of civilians in Ukraine are constantly rising.

For more than two years no, since the launch of Russia’s full-scale, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, children have learned to sleep and study on underground subway platforms, as they shelter from continuous attacks. On those days children are not sheltering underground from Russian bombs, parents have lived in fear not knowing whether their children would come home.

Chair, for two years now, this has been the grim reality for all Ukrainians. While for ten years Ukrainians in Crimea and parts of the Donbas have been forced to live this way.

Report after report from independent mechanisms such as the Commission of Inquiry and the HRMMU, has concluded that the war against Ukraine is marked by war crimes, grave human rights violations, violations of international human rights law, and that certain actions by the Russian Federation may constitute crimes against humanity.

Dignity and justice must be restored for the countless victims of this war and those responsible must be held to account.

We welcome the initiatives to ensure full accountability for the most serious crimes under international law committed in Ukraine, including the work of Ukraine’s authorities, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court,  the International Centre for the Prosecution of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine the establishment of the Register of Damage for Ukraine, and the work of the Core Group on options for the establishment of a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. We further commend the independent investigations under the OSCE Moscow Mechanism, ODIHR’s Ukraine Monitoring Initiative, the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, for independently presenting the world with evidence of Russia’s violations of international law, including international humanitarian law.

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the important and courageous work of the manifold Ukrainian organisations who tirelessly continue to monitor and document violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in their country. Their testimonies are crucial contributions to victim-centered accountability efforts.

Our nations will remain steadfast in our support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their tireless fight for freedom and dignity.

Minister Kuleba, we  stand with you, shoulder to shoulder, as you walk along the path towards justice, accountability, and peace for your country and all victims of this aggression.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 2: Annual High-Level Mainstreaming Panel: Disability Inclusion: Mainstreaming within the UN System

Joint statement by Mexico on behalf of a group of countries

26 February 2024

Mr. President,

Mexico is honored to deliver this joint statement on behalf of a large cross-regional group of countries.

We stress the importance of protecting and promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, recognizing their agency and the imperative of fostering support systems that enable their inclusion and active participation.

Persons with disabilities possess unique perspectives and talents. They can be agents for the positive transformation of our societies and institutions.

In this sense, mainstreaming disability rights within the UN is not only a moral imperative but a strategic necessity for the advancement of human rights and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

We reaffirm our support for the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy (UNDIS) as a crucial framework guiding our efforts. The effective implementation of the UNDIS, and the socialization of its outcomes, are central to making disability inclusion a reality within the UN and throughout its work.

Progress has been made in this regard, as recognized by the UN Secretary-General in his 2022 annual system-wide report, but there is more to be done. It is incumbent upon us to renew our commitment to UNDIS and work collaboratively to overcome challenges, including in the areas of resource mobilization, knowledge-sharing and capacity-building, The inclusion and effective participation and leadership of persons with disabilities in these efforts is essential.

To advance programmatic mainstreaming of disability rights across different sectors, UN Member States can also play a pivotal role. At the international level, we need to incorporate a disability-inclusive perspective in all multilateral processes. At the national level, we need to enact and enforce legislation that protects and promotes the human rights of persons with disabilities; adopt inclusive and comprehensive support systems that enable their social inclusion; and adopt the necessary measures to guarantee that persons with disabilities can meaningfully lead and participate in all decisions affecting them.

In conclusion, we call for stronger global commitment to implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as global support for the implementation of the UNDIS within the UN, consistent with the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 2: The death of Alexei Navalny and the situation of the political opposition

Joint statement by the European Union on behalf of a group of countries

4 March 2024

Mr. President,

We are deeply concerned about the unabated systematic crackdown on civil society and the repressions of political opposition and critical voices throughout the Russian Federation and active outside the country.

The events of 16 February are yet another example of the continued systematic crackdown by the Russian authorities, and their disregard for the human rights of their own citizens.

We are outraged by the death of the Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, for which the ultimate responsibility lies with President Putin and the Russian authorities. Russia must allow an independent and transparent international investigation into circumstances of his sudden death. Mr Navalny’s unexpected and shocking death is yet another sign of the accelerating and systematic repression in Russia.

We strongly call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally release all other political prisoners, including Yuri Dmitriev, Vladimir Kara-Murza, Ilya Yashin, Alexei Gorinov, Lilia Chanysheva, Ksenia Fadeeva, Alexandra Skochilenko and Ivan Safronov as well as human rights defenders, journalists and anti-war activists arbitrarily detained for peacefully exercising their human rights and opposing Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. We express concern over their detention conditions and recall that the prohibition of torture is absolute under international law.

We call on the Russian Federation to end this climate of impunity and create a safe environment for political opposition and critical voices including journalists and other media workers, human rights defenders and civic activists as enshrined in its domestic and international obligations. We call on Russia to abolish its oppressive legislation and end political misuse of the judiciary.

Around the world people have gathered to pay tribute to the memory of Alexei Navalny. In Russia, the authorities tried to prevent the same in a number of places and several hundred people have been detained. Russia’s political leadership and authorities must be held to account. Navalny’s courage, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to the cause of justice, freedom and democracy will never be forgotten.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 3: ID with Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing

Joint statement by Bangladesh on behalf of a group of countries

5 March 2024

Mr. President,

Bangladesh has the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of a group of countries.

The right to adequate housing is yet to be realized for many and millions still live in substandard housing, or are experiencing homelessness. Furthermore, climate change, natural disasters and environmental degradation have been accentuating displacements and homelessness. Homelessness is also a process of disassociation ensued from complex interplay of poverty, lack of gainful employment, and access to infrastructure, as well as other socio-economic issues that may constitute a loss of family, community, and a sense of belonging and dignity.

Mr. President,

We urge States to integrate affected communities and individuals in designing, evaluating and implementing policies, programmes and strategies for their housing;

We call for enhanced international collaboration and partnership for implementation of inclusive, technologically advanced, climate and environmental degradation resilient public housing programmes;

We encourage States to continue to enable all persons with disabilities and in vulnerable situations to access adequate housing by constructing, maintaining and managing housing programmes at affordable prices and costs, with subsidies where required;

We encourage States to ensure that evictions are compliant with the provisions of international humanitarian and human rights laws and to avoid use of force; and

We request the Member States to take concerted action to seek long-term sustainable solutions to homelessness and to address legal, administrative, social, economic, cultural and digital barriers that hinder the realization of the right to an adequate standard of living, including housing.


Human Rights Council 55th session

Item 3: International Women’s Day

Joint statement by Afghanistan on behalf of a group of countries

8 March 2024

Mr. President,

As the women and girls of Afghanistan continue to display unparalleled courage while standing for their human rights in the face of the gravest adversity, on this International Women’s Day, we express our deep concern about their dire situation which calls for a concerted response by the entire international community.

Mr. President,

The Taliban’s promises to respect human rights remain unfulfilled. From their constellation of decrees and edicts to declarations and directives, women and girls remain unable to exercise their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, in contravention of international law.

Gender-based violence has increased drastically, while access to support services, safe spaces, and shelters continues to diminish. Denied freedom of movement, women and girls describe feeling unsafe leaving their homes. Following a recent pattern of arbitrary detentions, women and girls are being held in overcrowded police stations, subjected to threats, violence and intimidation, with no access to justice. They are also facing public lashings.

Girls are prevented from entering secondary schools or universities, leaving them exposed to violence, poverty and exploitation and harming the country’s prospects for progress, durable peace and sustainable development.

The ban on women from working for the UN and national and international NGOs, violates the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, interfering with the delivery of essential services to the persons in the most vulnerable situations.

As recognised by the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, “progressive and deliberate restrictions on women and girls’ rights,” resulted in their “marginalisation and exclusion” from social, political, public and economic life. It was further concluded by the Committee that due to their widespread and systemic nature, these acts may amount to gender persecution - a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, the institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination, with the intention of maintaining that regime, has been described by some, including the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, as “gender apartheid.

Mr. President,

This situation demands nothing less than full accountability.

First, we urge all relevant special procedures mandate-holders and treaty bodies to closely monitor the situation, ensuring coherent coordination and cooperation.

Second, we call upon States Parties to the Rome Statute to ensure full and effective cooperation with the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor with respect to its investigation into the situation in Afghanistan. We also welcome the statement of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, made during the launch of a new policy on gender-based crimes, and recall the policy on the crime of gender persecution.

Third, we call upon States to ensure that, during any engagement with the Taliban de facto authorities, they emphasise the State of Afghanistan’s obligations to respect human rights, especially those of women and girls. States should also ensure the active involvement of stakeholders of Afghanistan, including women, in dialogues concerning the future of the country.

Fourth, we urge States to support the decision on the commencement of negotiations on a Crimes Against Humanity Convention based on the ILC draft articles this year. We call upon States to work towards an adequate reflection of systematic gender persecution.

Finally, we call for immediate accountability for human rights abuses in Afghanistan, commensurate with the gravity of the situation on the ground.

As systematic discrimination persists worldwide, SDG 5 remains yet to be achieved. While the road ahead may seem challenging, let us act decisively today, guided by our shared commitment to universal human rights, including women’s and girls’ rights. Together, we can take one step closer to realising a world where women and girls can participate fully, equally, and meaningfully in all spheres of public life and be safe from violence of any kind.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 3: International Women’s Day

Joint statement by Finland on behalf of a group of countries

8 March 2024

Mr. President, 

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of Mexico, my country Finland and a group of States.

On this International Women’s Day, we look at our world and see conflicts, inequalities, hunger, poverty, a triple planetary crisis. We are far from reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. To overcome these challenges, it is imperative to build safe, stable, inclusive, prosperous and peaceful societies.

In times of conflicts and crisis, we often hear that so-called “hard security” must be prioritized and so-called “softer security” issues can wait. Gender equality and women’s and girls’ rights are often placed in the latter category. However, history has shown that this approach is inadequate. Women must be included in all matters related to peace and security. Women’s, young women’s and girls’ rights cannot and should not wait, even less in times of crisis. This concerns especially women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination.

We need a more comprehensive approach to security. Evidence from decades of research shows that gender equality strengthens the stability of societies. Inclusive peace agreements that adopt a gender perspective are more likely to last. Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights is a powerful tool for building security and vice versa: eroding these rights can have negative security effects.

We must ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of all women, young women and girls, without discrimination of any kind, in all areas of society, including in the public and private sector, company boardrooms, political decision-making, peace processes, activism and advocacy. We must also recognise the full diversity of all women and girls in their circumstances and experiences and adopt intersectional approaches to responding to the needs of women and girls with different backgrounds.

Let us elevate women and women’s rights organisations and movements that are already making a difference. Let us support women’s and girls’ autonomy, including their right to bodily autonomy and the realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Let us strengthen our efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence in all circumstances, to send a clear and coherent message condemning violent attacks against women and girls – whether at home or in public spaces, offline or in digital spaces, nationally or internationally, in conflict or at peace. Addressing the root causes of conflict means investing in the human rights of women and girls everywhere.

In times like these, we must not put women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality aside, something to deal with later. On the contrary, now is the time to bring women’s and girls’ rights to the forefront, to the center of solutions towards stability and peace.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 3: Inclusive participation in elections in 2024 in the world

Joint Statement by Romania on behalf of a group of countries

13 March

Mr. President,

I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of a group of 59 countries, with diverse electoral systems.

1. Globally, more voters than ever will be called to the polls this year, in countries representing about 49% of the people in the world. Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines that the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

2. Elections are an important moment to reaffirm our countries’ commitment to human rights and democracy and to ensure the right of everyone to participate in public affairs. Effective participation through elections by all members of society contributes to the attainment of SDG targets.

3. We reiterate the importance of holding elections in a secure and peaceful environment in which rule of law is respected and everyone is safe to exercise freely their rights and freedoms without discrimination of any kind and without unlawful or arbitrary restrictions.

4. It is important to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, free movement and the right to participate in public affairs are fully respected.

5. These elections take place in the era of widely available digital technologies and artificial intelligence and we must address the risks of disinformation. We have to protect citizens’ rights to freedom of expression so they can access information and debate openly and freely, while taking measures to counter hate speech, both online and offline.

6. Recognizing the role of youth in electoral processes, the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly have consistently highlighted the need for their full, effective and meaningful participation in decision-making.

7. We call on all States to encourage youth, women, persons with disabilities and representatives of persons belonging to minorities to stand for elections. Inclusive political participation is crucial to building stable and peaceful societies and developing responsive policies.

8. We reiterate the fundamental importance of human rights education and training in contributing to the promotion, protection and effective realization of all human rights, and raising generations of young people able to participate effectively in public life in their societies.

9. We conclude by encouraging OHCHR to continue its work, within its mandate, to ensure that elections meet international human rights standards and that they are held in an environment in which everyone can exercise their rights.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with SRSG for children in armed conflict

Joint Statement by Uruguay on behalf of a group of states from the Group of Friends on CAAC

13 March 2024

Mr. President,

I am honoured to take the floor on behalf of a group of States that have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration and committed to implementing the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use.

Dear Madam Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict,

We thank you for your report and note with deep concern that attacks on schools, students and education personnel remain extremely high and that the military use of schools has increased in 2023. We strongly condemn such actions as they undermine the right to education and recall that all human rights must be respected, protected and fulfilled also in times of conflict. Attacks on schools and their military use place children, in particular girls and children with disabilities, at particular risk of harm, making them more vulnerable to other grave violations, with boys, girls and children with disabilities suffering in often different and deeply problematic ways.

We welcome your recommendation that States should endorse the Safe Schools Declaration. 2025 will coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Safe Schools Declaration, already endorsed by 119 states, and the year of the Fifth International Conference on the Declaration. We urge all States to accelerate efforts towards universal endorsement and full implementation of this crucial tool. As the Declaration states, “education is fundamental to development and to the full enjoyment of human rights and freedoms”. We encourage the SRSG to continue with her efforts to promote these principles.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 4: Joint Statement on the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Islamic Republic of Iran (HRC res. S-35/1)

Joint statement by Costa Rica on behalf of a group of countries

15 March 2024

Mr. President,

I am delivering this statement on behalf of a cross-regional group of 54 countries.

We thank the Fact-Finding Mission for carrying out their invaluable work to investigate the alleged human rights violations that took place after the tragic death in custody of Mahsa Jina Amini and subsequent nationwide protests.

The FFM has recorded patterns of serious violations of human rights including the use of excessive and lethal force against protesters. The report also finds that violence against women and children was widespread throughout the security forces’ response to the protests.

To suppress dissent, authorities resorted to disproportionate use of force, arbitrary arrests and detention, sexual and gender-based violence, torture of detainees, harassment of victim’s families, unfair trials and the execution of protesters. The report concludes that some of these acts may amount to crimes against humanity, including the crime against humanity of gender persecution. Perpetrators of these crimes must be held to account.

Mr President, the human rights situation in Iran has worsened. We remain deeply concerned about the rights of women and girls. Women human rights defenders and journalists continue to be persecuted and silenced.  If adopted, the "Bill to Support the Family by Promoting the Culture of Chastity and Hijab" will restrict women’s rights further; a breach of the mandatory hijab will carry punishment of up to ten years in prison in addition to flogging, crushing fines, travel restrictions and deprivation of online access.

We urge the Iranian authorities to take steps to eliminate this and all other forms of gender-based discrimination, end the cycle of violence, cease the suppression of protests, open civic space both online and offline to allow for dissenting voices, and allow journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders to carry out their work freely.

Impunity cannot continue, calls for justice cannot remain unanswered, accountability must prevail.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

Joint statement by Australia on behalf of a group of countries

18 March 2024

Mr. President,

On behalf of 53 co-sponsor States of the HRC DPRK resolution, I thank the Special Rapporteur for her sobering update and reiterate our support for her mandate.

Ten years ago, the Commission of Inquiry established by this Council concluded that the DPRK committed systematic and widespread human rights violations that amounted to crimes against humanity.

Today, tragically, the Special Rapporteur’s report shows there has been little to no progress in the human rights situation, or towards accountability.

The Special Rapporteur continues to report systemic and gross human rights violations and abuses, ranging from torture, abductions, arbitrary detention in prison camps and inter-generational punishment, as well as the implementation of new laws restricting freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms.

We remain disturbed by the Special Rapporteur’s findings with regard to widespread violations and abuses of the human rights of women and girls, including gender-based violence by the state.

We call on the DPRK to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur and allow the return of UN agencies, other international organisations and the diplomatic community.

Special Rapporteur, we welcome your insights from consultations with victims/survivors on what accountability would look like to them to inform a more effective international response.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine

Joint statement by the Netherlands on behalf of the Group of Friends

18 March 2024

Mr. President,

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of the 'Group of Friends of Accountability following the aggression against Ukraine'.

Damian Omelianenko, Mykola Maslii, Iryna Horobtsova.

These are just three of the thousands of Ukrainian civilians, yes civilians, who according to credible reports, have been unlawfully detained by Russian authorities.

As found by the Commission of Inquiry, the unlawful confinement of civilians, is a violation of their rights to liberty and security of person and is a war crime. But their detention is often only the first in a harrowing series of violations and crimes civilian detainees are subjected to at the hands of Russian authorities.   

Torture, sexual and gender-based violence, unlawful transfers and deportations, including of children. The list goes on.

Mr. Chair,

Dignity and justice must be restored for the countless victims of Russia’s aggression and those responsible must be held to account.

We, therefore, welcome the detailed reporting of the CoI, as well as the work of the HRMMU, the investigation by the ICC, the operationalization of the ICPCA, the establishment of the Register of Damage for Ukraine, and the work of the Core Group towards a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. 

Mr. Chair,

What more can the international community do to support Damian Omelianenko, Mykola Maslii, and Iryna Horobtsova, and the identification, release and the reunification of all other Ukrainian civilians who are unlawfully detained by Russia?


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 4: ICJ Syria Provisional Measures

Joint statement by Canada on behalf of a group of countries

18 March 2024

Mr. President,

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of a cross-regional group of countries.

For thirteen years, the international community has called out Syria for its flagrant breaches of international human rights law. Regrettably, Syria has denied wrongdoing and continues to violate international law with impunity.

These circumstances led the Netherlands and Canada to invoke the responsibility of Syria for breaches of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and eventually to institute proceedings against Syria before the ICJ. The ongoing human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Syria cannot remain without consequences and a lasting political solution in Syria is possible only if the perpetrators are held to account and victims obtain justice.

We welcome the ICJ’s provisional measures, requiring Syria to prevent acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment and ensure no one under its control commits such acts, and to take effective measures to ensure the preservation of evidence  The provisional measures are a first step towards much needed accountability and justice for the people of Syria.

We strongly condemn reports of sexual and gender-based violence, affecting the lives of millions of women, girls, and boys across the country. We further condemn Syria’s continued obstruction of families’ efforts to ascertain the fate of their detained loved ones and relatives.

Distinguished Commissioners, the question remains, how can we better co-operate with partners and Syrian civil society to identify ongoing violations, including torture and detention in Syria?


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 4: Humanitarian access in Sudan

Joint statement by the United Kingdom of Great Britain on behalf of a group of countries

19 March 2024

Mr. President,

This statement is on behalf of the Troika for Sudan – USA, Norway and the UK– and supported by a group of other countries.

We welcome the organisation of a humanitarian conference for Sudan and neighbouring countries next month in Paris, exactly one year since the beginning of a conflict that has had catastrophic humanitarian consequences for the Sudanese people.

Nearly 18 million people are suffering crisis levels of food insecurity.  Humanitarian workers are blocked from reaching the people in need.  The longer this conflict lasts, and the further fighting spreads, the greater that need will become.  We call on all parties to accept a Ramadan ceasefire, in line with Security Council Resolution 2274.

The Sudanese Armed Forces’ withdrawal of permission for aid deliveries through the major crossing points from Chad into Darfur is indefensible. It has exacerbated the suffering in Darfur, where civilians are already in dire need after suffering relentless atrocities by the Rapid Support Forces.

We call on the SAF to uphold fully their commitments to facilitate cross-line and cross-border operations, re-open fully the vital Adre crossing point, and refrain from any measures that prevent life-saving aid reaching those in need. 

The vital work of local responders, UN agencies, and international partners must be allowed to proceed. The warring parties must ensure the security of humanitarian actors and refrain from diverting life-saving supplies for themselves – and hold their personnel accountable when they go against these principles.

Mr President,

The death toll in Sudan is likely far greater than the 14,000 verified to date.  Every day humanitarian assistance is prevented from reaching those in need, that number will rise, and the Sudanese people move further toward catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

We call on all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and the Jeddah Declaration, and to allow full, rapid, safe, and unhindered cross-border and cross-line humanitarian access, so that we can, collectively, protect Sudan’s people from even more suffering and death.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 7: General debate

Joint statement by Chile on behalf of a group of countries

26 March 2024

Mr. President,

Chile is honored to present this joint statement on behalf a group of countries.

We remain profoundly alarmed by the dire humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. The conflict has inflicted immense suffering upon civilians, particularly women and children, who bear the brunt.

We call on all parties to adhere to international law, including protecting civilians and ensuring unimpeded humanitarian access. Targeting civilians and healthcare facilities, including denying essential services and forcibly displacing civilians, is unacceptable and unlawful. We urge the full implementation of the Provisional Measures ordered by the ICJ in the case concerning the Genocide Convention. by Israel.

Israel must refrain from actions in violation of international law leading to harm to civilians and forced displacement, especially in Rafah. At the same time, we demand the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and express our solidarity with them and their families.

Urgent action must be taken. An immediate ceasefire is essential to enable the delivery of life-saving aid and restore essential services.

In this context, we emphasize the irreplaceable role of UNRWA in terms of delivering lifesaving humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, and its stabilizing role across the region call for its sustained funding. We support a thorough investigation into the allegations against some staff members allegedly involved in the October 7 terrorist attacks, which must be swiftly completed, and those responsible must be held accountable.  UNRWA must be able to continue its vital response, which must be fully funded.

We urge all parties to engage in constructive dialogue that leads to a lasting peace by enabling the two-state solution, in line with relevant UN resolutions. The international community must remain vigilant and hold all parties accountable for violations of international law.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 8: “Elections” for president of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied or controlled territories of Ukraine

27 March 2024

Mr. President,

This statement is delivered on behalf of 43 states.

Article 3 of the Vienna Declaration states: “Effective international measures to guarantee and monitor the implementation of human rights standards should be taken in respect of people under foreign occupation, and effective legal protection against the violation of their human rights should be provided, in accordance with human rights norms and international law, particularly the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 14 August 1949, and other applicable norms of humanitarian law”.

In resolution 78/221, the General Assembly condemned the ongoing temporary control or occupation by the Russian Federation of part of the territory of Ukraine, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and certain areas of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and reaffirmed the non-recognition of its annexation.

Mr. President,

We condemn in the strongest terms the holding by the Russian Federation of so-called “elections” on Ukraine’s sovereign territory on 15-17 March in the temporarily occupied or controlled territories of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, as well as in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. They have no legitimacy nor validity under international law and cannot and do not alter the status of these regions of Ukraine.

This is just another futile effort by the Russian Federation to legitimize or formalize its illegal attempted annexation of parts of Ukraine.

We reiterate our support for the territorial integrity, unity, and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders as well as for Ukraine’s political independence - which the Russian Federation continues to violate.

We fully support a Ukraine-driven peace process and the principles set forth in President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula and look forward to continued cooperation to develop this initiative with a view to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine and security to the whole world.

We stand firmly with the people of Ukraine as they bravely face Russia’s aggression and express our solidarity with those in Ukraine’s territories under Russia’s temporary control who continue to speak up at great personal risk against Russia`s full-scale invasion.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 8: Indigenous People’s knowledge and science, climate change, and human rights

Joint statement by Canada on behalf of a group of countries

27 March 2024

Mr. President,

I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of a cross-regional group of countries.

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action recognized the unique contribution of Indigenous Peoples to the development and plurality of societies. It reaffirmed our commitment to ensure their enjoyment of all rights and freedoms, and to respect the value and diversity of their cultures and identities.

Importantly, the VDPA urged States to ensure the full and free participation of Indigenous Peoples in all aspects of society, particularly in matters that affect them.

As we take stock of the implementation of the VDPA, we note that much work remains for us to fully realize these commitments.

And as we look to make further progress, we are mindful that the adverse effects of climate change stand as a main threat to the promotion and protection of Indigenous rights.

While the impacts of climate change affect all of us, we recognise that Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately affected. Moreover, Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and experiences are critical to developing the solutions to address it.

In the fight against climate change, it is imperative that we use the best available knowledge and science humankind can offer. This means being able to incorporate and share information to bridge, braid, and weave all scientific knowledge, including Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and science.

For generations, Indigenous Peoples have developed their own knowledge based on observation, hypothesis, and analysis in their territories. In a modern context, this knowledge remains vital to environmental stewardship, wildlife protection, managing species at risk, adaption and mitigation of climate change, and prevention of natural emergencies.

Following the leadership of Indigenous Peoples on climate adaptation, innovative clean energy, and resource monitoring will better prepare us to meet global targets, including the SDGs, and to adapt to the impacts we are facing. As rights holders, Indigenous Peoples, including Indigenous women and girls, have the right to participate alongside States to share their knowledge, and to take a leading role in decision-making at all levels.

A more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world cannot be achieved without the full, effective, and meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 9: Joint Statement on the territorial integrity of Ukraine

Statement by the European Union on behalf of a group of states

28 March 2024

Mr. President,

I have the honour to deliver this joint statement on behalf of the 27 EU Member States, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America.

We are reacting to the statement on behalf of the Russian Federation delivered by a representative of the so-called administration in the territory of Ukraine temporarily controlled by Russia.

We recall the relevant UNGA resolutions which recognise the status of this territory as an integral part of Ukraine.

We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. We reiterate our strongest condemnation of Russia’s aggression and its attempts to acquire Ukraine’s territory by force in flagrant violation of international law, including the UN Charter. We firmly and unequivocally reject, do not and will never recognize the attempted illegal annexation by Russia of Ukraine's regions of Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

We therefore urge Russia to refrain from letting any representative of the so-called administration in the territories of Ukraine temporarily controlled by Russia intervene on its behalf within the Human Rights Council, or in any other international fora.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 10: General debate

Joint statement by the Maldives on behalf of the HRC Membership Contact Group

2 April 2024

Mr President,

This statement is on behalf of the contact group on Council membership. The list of members will be made public on the extranet.

We believe that membership of the Human Rights Council should reflect the diversity of the UN as a whole, and that all countries, irrespective of their size, wealth or power should have an equal opportunity to serve as members of the Council.

Since 2017 the number of States that have never held a seat on the Council has fallen from 95 to 69 today.

While this is important progress, at the most recent Council election, only one country was elected that had not been a member before. So more work clearly remains to be done to broaden the Council’s membership to other states.

Most of the countries that have never been members of the Council are small States, especially Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

We have seen from recent years that Small States often offer new perspectives and strengthen the Council’s universality. Indeed, LDCs and SIDs have made significant contributions to the Council through leading resolutions on important new topics, by serving as members of the Bureau and even by being elected as Council President. We therefore express our firm support for the important work of the LDCs/SIDs voluntary trust fund in supporting greater participation at the HRC. We hope that this will build capacity  to allow a greater number of states to stand for membership. 

As GA resolution 60/251 that established this Council makes clear, membership of the Council comes with responsibility. All States must respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the Council.

Our contact group encourages States with a demonstrable commitment to human rights and democracy, especially Small States, to strengthen their participation and engagement with the body and its mechanisms and, eventually, to consider standing for election. We are ready to engage with such states and to support them in this endeavour.


Human Rights Council – 55th session

Item 10: Transitional justice and accountability in Ethiopia

Joint statement by the European Union on behalf of a group of states

2 April 2024

Mr President,

I am making this statement on behalf of a group of 44 countries.

During the 54th session of the Human Rights Council, the Government of Ethiopia committed to bring forward a solid transitional justice policy framework by November 2023.

Meanwhile, we have taken note of Ethiopia’s strong pledge on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the UDHR in December 2023; the report published by the Ethiopian Transitional Justice Expert Group mid-January; and the recent validation workshops.

We welcome the Government’s stated commitment, and urge the Government to swiftly establish a policy framework, based on the recommendations by the expert group, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the OHCHR.

Ethiopia’s victims and survivors deserve justice. Credible transitional justice and accountability processes are crucial to ensuring lasting peace and reconciliation. The policy framework should be consistent with regional and international human rights law, include an international component and ensure genuine accountability, truth-seeking, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Participation of victims and prioritizing their needs and rights is equally essential. This includes providing strong victim and witness protection, psychosocial assistance, health services, and socioeconomic support.

Robust independent, impartial and transparent mechanisms are needed to implement the policy, preserve evidence, conduct investigations into all allegations of human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law and, as appropriate, prosecute those responsible. Detailed information on how each mechanism will be created and what the next steps are is key for the success of the policy framework. We encourage introducing implementing legislation promptly.

If the proposal is to go farther back in time, we recommend prioritizing recent events, including in northern Ethiopia.

Mr. President,

We welcome the continued commitment of the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray Interim Regional Administration to consolidate the peace process and implement the outstanding provisions of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. At the same time, we remain seriously concerned about on-going violence and reports of human rights violations and abuses in the Amhara and Oromia regions. The extension of the State of Emergency in Amhara is also cause for concern.

We call on all parties to pursue peace through dialogue as well as to participate in what must be a credible and inclusive National Dialogue process.

Lastly, we invite the High Commissioner to keep the Council updated on the human rights situation in Ethiopia, the assistance his Office is providing and the implementation of the recommendations of the Joint Investigative Team and the ICHREE.

We encourage Ethiopia to continue to engage OHCHR and international experts on its path of transitional justice, lasting peace, and prosperity.


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