Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogue with High Commissioner for Human Rights on his annual report

AFTERNOON

 

GENEVA (10 March 2016) – The Human Rights Council today held an interactive dialogue with Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on his annual report.  
 
In his presentation, High Commissioner Zeid referred to the refugee crisis and said that the European Union’s recent draft arrangement with Turkey raised a number of very serious concerns, including the potential for collective and arbitrary expulsions.  He referred to a number of pressing issues, including the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

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Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights

ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN, High Commissioner for Human Rights, said …The High Commissioner urged the Council to reaffirm its support for a just, fair and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, voiced deep concern over the aggregating trend of violent extremism around the world and emphasized the urgent need to tackle its root causes.  The Non-Aligned Movement strongly condemned the systematic human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, noting that Israel had to be compelled to cease its military attacks, collective punishment, blockade and all other grave breaches of human rights.

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Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, reiterated the importance of international cooperation to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and strongly condemned the occupation by Israeli forces of Palestinian lands as well as violations of the rights of the Palestinian people.  On Syria, concern was expressed regarding the humanitarian crisis and the situation of refugees.  Any interference in the internal affairs of Yemen was refused.

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Saudi Arabia, speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council, said that the way work was being done in the field of human rights continued to be politicised and subjected to double standards, to the detriment of economic, social, and cultural rights.  A clear lack of consensus was seen between States with regard to the right to development. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land was one of the worst situations before humanity and the Syrian people were suffering.  The importance of international cooperation to face challenges was underlined.

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Maldives regretted the lack of voices of delegations from small island countries that were not represented in the Council.  The State of Palestine continued to be under occupation, and the human rights of its people continued to be violated every year.  The continuing violence in Syria was a matter of great concern.  Maldives remained alarmed at the escalating refugee crisis in Europe, with refugees facing unpleasant reactions from some States.
 
Israel said that the Council suffered from an “obsessive-compulsive disorder” as it continued to produce reports, resolutions and dialogues on Israel.  The Council should expose itself to other pressing conflict areas with increased attention and a parallel reduction of the level of anxiety with which it considered Israel.  In light of the situations in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, it was nothing but shameful that the Council would consider six reports and five resolutions on Israel.

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Qatar noted that the use of violence against people who had come out to demonstrate for democracy during the Arab Spring had led to the resurgence of terrorist activities.  There was a need to put an end to dictatorial regimes in the region.  Qatar condemned Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories and blockade of the Gaza Strip.  Images showed the scale of the crimes committed by the Syrian regime, which had killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

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Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner

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Iran concurred with the High Commissioner about the increasing trend of violent extremism around the world that jeopardized all human beings.  Combatting violent extremism should be considered as a universal humanitarian goal and responsibility, and no effort should be spared in that respect.  The persistence of systematic and flagrant breaches of international humanitarian law in occupied Palestine by the occupying power was deeply disturbing.

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Algeria welcomed the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in promoting the right to development, combatting discrimination against women, and promoting the rights of migrants.  Algeria expressed concern over serious human rights violations against the Palestinian people, and reiterated its support to a just and fair resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara.

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France supported the actions of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  His strong and independent voice was vital for denouncing human rights violations and ensuring the prosecution of violators.  Human rights were under a greater threat than ever.  In Palestine and Israel, the status quo was not an option.

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Jordan expressed great anxiety regarding the human rights situation in Syria and called on the international community to come up with a viable solution that was compatible with the people’s will and preserved the unity of Syria’s territories.  Israel, the occupying power, was still violating the State of Palestine, and the Palestinian cause remained crucial in the region.

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United Kingdom…was deeply concerned about the detention of political and civil society activists in Egypt, as well as the situation in Burundi, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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Oman reiterated its support to the High Commissioner and his Office.  Conflicts in the Middle East had had a negative impact on the people’s right to live in dignity.  Oman supported a peaceful settlement of conflicts, and underlined the importance of respecting cultural backgrounds, without double standards.  Israel continued to deny Palestinian people their most basic rights, Oman said, calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict there, with two States living side by side.  
 
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Concluding Remarks by the High Commissioner for Human Rights
 
ZEID RA’AD AL-HUSSEIN, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights…As for the question on the conflict in Palestine, there had to be scrupulous application of international humanitarian law.  Only when violence was reduced to zero could the atmosphere required for the end of the suffering of the Palestinian people be established.  The Israelis had to be assured that their State would be secure and safe from any threat.

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For use of the information media; not an official record