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Human Rights Council 35th Session (6-23 June 2017)

Item 4: Human Rights situations that require the Council’s attention

15 June 2017

Statement of Ireland 

Mr. President,

Ireland has or will highlight our concerns regarding the human rights situations in Syria, Belarus, Eritrea, Burundi, Myanmar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ukraine during the debates and relevant dialogues of this session.

Ireland believes that every country has a fundamental obligation to protect the human rights of all persons within their jurisdiction.   It should not be regarded as an optional add-on to be discarded at will and situations of conflict do not give a licence to abrogate from the rights and protections due to civilian populations.  We are highly concerned at the alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Syria and Yemen.

Ireland strongly condemns all forms of persecution on the basis of religion or belief, irrespective of where they occur or who the victims are.  In this respect, we are deeply concerned by the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East region and Eritrea.

Since the last session in March, extremely worrying threats to civil society space have emerged in a number of States. Ireland is concerned by the restrictions of civil liberties in Bahrain, in particular freedom for civil society actors to operate in a safe and enabling environment.

Ireland is deeply concerned at the deteriorating human rights situation in Turkey in which democracy, rule of law and human rights have come under threat. We are increasingly concerned about the threat to freedom of expression, including media freedom, and the detention of human rights defenders and lawyers, including that of Mr Taner Kilic.

The crackdown on civil society organisations through restrictive and abusive legislation in the Russian Federation is also of deep concern.  We deplore the targeting of the LGBTI community in Chechnya, and condemn in particular the increasing incidence of extra-judicial killings of LGBTI persons.  We call on the Russian Federation to take steps to end the climate of impunity which allows these crimes to take place and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

We remain deeply concerned about the situation in Ethiopia where civil society space has been seriously curtailed and persistent human rights abuses are an ongoing reality for many citizens. The ongoing arrests of human rights defenders, journalists and activists is particularly disturbing. We urge the Ethiopian Government to accept the High Commissioners repeated calls for access for independent observers to the country, particularly to investigate human rights abuses by security forces in response to unrest in the Oromia and Amhara regions.

We are deeply concerned by the deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We share the concerns of the High Commissioner regarding the extent and nature of these human rights violations and abuses, the inadequate responses of the domestic authorities, and the need for the international community to intervene to end the widespread impunity in the DRC. We call for an international investigation into human rights violations that have occurred in the Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental Provinces, including the mass graves discovered.

Ireland is adamantly opposed to the death penalty and is therefore gravely concerned by the proposed reintroduction of the death penalty in the Philippines, as well as the number of extra-judicial killings which have taken place in the last year. We reiterate our call on the Philippines to cease all steps to reintroduce the death penalty and to fully respect international human rights law in its efforts to combat the trade in and use of illegal drugs. Ireland remains deeply concerned by the continued use of the death penalty in Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Gaza Strip.

Thank you