Human Rights Council 35th Session (6-23 June 2017)
Follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Statement by Ireland
19 June 2017
Ireland aligns itself with the statement of the European Union and adds the following.
While next year will mark the 25th Anniversary of the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, we are reminded today of the work that we still have to do in order to achieve all the commitments and undertakings set out in the Declaration.
The VDPA reaffirmed the importance of a strong pluralistic civil society, and the important role of ‘real and effective participation of the people in decision-making processes’. We note with deep concern the continuing reports of discrimination, threats and violence faced by civil society worldwide, including human rights defenders; and we remain fully committed to the strengthening of civil society space at all levels.
We welcome the report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (A/HRC/35/36). We are alarmed at the serious human rights abuses and violations detailed in the report, and we remain dedicated to the combatting all forms of discrimination and violence against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We look forward to continuing to work on this issue in the Council with all relevant stakeholders, including with civil society.
The universality of human rights and the duty of States to protect and promote all human rights is clearly affirmed in the Declaration. We regret that some seek to weaken the effective functioning of the Human Rights Council and undermine the principle of the universality of human rights through the invocation of cultural relativism, contrary to the clear agreement of all States at Vienna that:
“While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms”
We will continue efforts to promote and protect the universality of human rights, including within the Council.