Minister Cannon addresses Human Rights Council and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva
Press release27 February 2018
Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, today addressed the High-Level Segment of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Speaking to delegates from over 160 countries, Minister Cannon highlighted the centrality of human rights to Irish foreign policy since the foundation of the State.
70 years on from the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, Minister Cannon encouraged the global community to use the anniversary to reflect on why its values continue to be relevant in today’s world of increasing challenge to human rights.
“Despite the complexity of global challenges, let us draw strength from, and be inspired by, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which encourages us to focus on the rights and dignity of all women and men”
Minister Cannon highlighted the human rights situations in a number of countries including Yemen, Myanmar and the occupied Palestinian territories. He fully endorsed UN Secretary General António Guterres, who, in his earlier address to the Human Rights Council, called for immediate and effective implementation of the Security Council Resolution to allow unhindered humanitarian access to besieged populations in Syria, including in Eastern Ghouta.
Minister Cannon expressed strong support for human rights defenders and highlighted Ireland’s work on the Council to protect civil society. Other issues raised by the Minister in his speech included threats to minority religious communities including those of Christian, Muslim and Baha’i faiths, and the need for more effective promotion and protection of the rights of LGBTI persons.
Minister Cannon paid tribute to the outgoing High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, who will complete his term of office later this year.
While in Geneva, Minister Cannon also met with the President of the International Committee for the Red Cross, Peter Maurer and will later address the Conference on Disarmament where he will highlight Ireland’s leading role on disarmament and endorsed the UN Secretary General’s call to restore disarmament to its central role in building international peace and security.