High-Level UN Segment Calls Attention to Ongoing Abuses

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The United Kingdom called out Iran and Burma for denying its citizens their human rights at today’s meeting of the Human Rights Council. The High-Level Segment, which takes place every year, permits senior government officials to discuss any issue of interest before the Council begins in earnest.

Below is a summary of today’s events.

  • Glenys Kinnock, Minister of State of the UK said that “Iran, Zimbabwe, Burma, some of the post-Soviet republics come readily to mind as some of the countries in which the infrastructures of democracy are negated by denial of HR, of free expression and association.”  The President of the Council then reminded all delegations to follow UN rules of procedure when naming specific countries.
  • Vietnam stated that “the success of the Council lies in a more balanced agenda addressing comprehensively human rights issues, increased universality and non-selectivity and the overall spirit of dialogue and cooperation…Politicization and confrontation that still persist must be effectively dealt with to enable the Council to serve as a forum for constructive dialogue and cooperation with a view to sharing among countries experiences on how to best promote and protect human rights.”
  • Among the more problematic speeches was given by the Minister of Justice of Sudan, who reported that “humanitarian indicators are stable” in Darfur. Praising his own government’s “cooperation” with the Council, he added that the government successfully “protects relief envoys” and “secures the arrival of expatriate and national humanitarian workers.”
  • Huda Alban, Minister of Human Rights of the Republic of Yemen, referred to the “paradox” of nations claiming to be at the forefront of human rights who systematically violate human rights.  She discussed the “violation of the rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people, innocent people” as a result of the “occupation” that has been occurring for “over 60 years.”
  • During the right of reply, the DPRK objected to “unfounded allegations of the South Korean delegation” and “reject[ed] the renewal of the mandate for the DPRK,” calling it “confrontational.”  The delegation argued that South Korea “has no interest in general human rights at all” and urged it to look at its own human rights record before criticizing the DPRK’s.  Furthermore, he considered the remarks to be a violation of the North-South agreement “which provides for national reconciliation.”
  • Huda Alban, Minister of Human Rights of the Republic of Yemen, referred to the “paradox” of nations claiming to be at the forefront of human rights who systematically violate human rights.  She discussed the “violation of the rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people, innocent people” as a result of the “occupation” that has been occurring for “over 60 years.”
  • During the right of reply, the DPRK objected to “unfounded allegations of the South Korean delegation” and “reject[ed] the renewal of the mandate for the DPRK,” calling it “confrontational.”  The delegation argued that South Korea “has no interest in general human rights at all” and urged it to look at its own human rights record before criticizing the DPRK’s.  Furthermore, he considered the remarks to be a violation of the North-South agreement “which provides for national reconciliation.”