48th session of the Human Rights Council - General Debate on HC oral updates Item 2

Ministry Statements & Speeches:

Delivered by Lucy Duncan, New Zealand Permanent Representative.

Madam President

Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply concerned by the deterioration of human rights in a number of countries covered in this session of the Council including through violent repression of fundamental rights and freedoms, and the erosion of democratic norms.

We reiterate our calls on all parties in Afghanistan to abide by their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law to allow freedom of movement including the safe departure of foreign nationals and Afghans. We urge the rapid, safe and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief and personnel. We call on all parties to guarantee and protect the human rights of women and girls, as well as of ethnic, religious and other minority groups including the rights to education and employment.

We call for free and fair elections in Venezuela and Nicaragua. We welcome the start of negotiations to resolve the crisis in Venezuela, and urge parties to negotiate in good faith to restore democratic norms and institutions.

New Zealand is gravely concerned by reports of arbitrary detention, torture and enforced disappearances in Syria and Yemen. We are further disturbed by reports of sexual violence against women and the recruitment of child soldiers. New Zealand supports the efforts of the UN to find sustainable political solutions to these conflicts.

The ongoing violent repression of opposition and dissent in Belarus is unacceptable. New Zealand urges the government to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained, and to conduct independent, impartial and transparent investigations into all allegations of human rights violations.

Thank you


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