8 FEBRUARY 2021

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

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Questions and Answers

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Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  Secretary [Antony] Blinken, this morning, said in a statement that the United Nations Human Rights Council is flawed and needs reforms.  Do you agree with this statement as the UN?

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We will be the first to admit that any part of the United Nations can always be better, but I think any flaws that exist in the Human Rights Council are addressed by active engagement of the Member States, whether it’s United States or any other country, and I think that’s one of the reasons the Secretary‑General welcomes the call by the secur… the decision by the United States to re‑engage with the Human Rights Council.

It is better for all Member States to be on the inside and to come to agreement to strengthen the Human Rights Council, to strengthen the protection of human rights, which we have seen, especially over the last few years, often take a step backwards throughout the world.

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Question:  Sorry.  Yeah.  On Friday, ICC (International Criminal Court) issued a statement saying that it has jurisdiction over the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, and it will, consequently, start some kind of investigation for Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Two countries rejected this:  US and Israel.  Israel qualified this decision as anti‑Semitism.  Do you agree with this description of the ICC decision?

Spokesman:  Look, we’re very much aware of the ruling issued by the ICC on Friday.  As you know, the International Criminal Court and the United Nations and the Secretariat are two separate institutions.  It’s not for us to comment on the ruling made by the ICC, on the decision made by the ICC, as we have separate mandates.

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For information media. Not an official record.