STORY: Volker Türk - Human Rights Council 53rd Session
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH, NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
RELEASE DATE: 19 June 2023
FORMAT: HYBRID PRESS BRIEFING
DATELINE: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
‘Vital’ human rights cooperation must be above the fray of politics: UN rights chief
A lack of strong cooperation with the international human rights system leaves States “adrift”, UN human rights chief Volker Türk said on Monday, as he addressed rights emergencies in dozens of countries including Iran, Mali and Russia.
In his annual review presented to the Human Rights Council, which opened its 53rd regular session on Monday, Mr. Türk insisted that such cooperation was “vital” in a world plagued by conflict, climate disasters and development setbacks.
Human rights “must always be above the fray of politics”, Mr. Türk said, following a request from Mali on Friday to the Security Council for the UN to immediately withdraw its peacekeeping mission, known as MINUSMA, from the country.
“When serious human rights violations or abuses occur, irrespective of the perpetrator, we need to monitor, document and report on them, in the interest of all Malians, in addition to working on prevention and delivering support to national institutions,” he said, while reiterating his Office’s commitment to continuing its work in Mali.
Mr. Türk called on Russia to cooperate with the Council-appointed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine. He stressed the need for human rights monitors to have access to both Ukrainian territory occupied by Russia, and to Russia itself, “not least, to visit civilian detainees, prisoners of war and Ukrainian children and people with disabilities who have been taken to these areas”.
Turning to Iran, Mr. Türk expressed concern over the “massive” recent increase in executions of prisoners – mostly for drug-related offences and a disproportionately high number representing minorities – as well as continuing discrimination against women and girls.
Countries and civil society organizations will have the opportunity to respond to the UN human rights chief’s comments during an interactive dialogue scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mr. Türk’s statement highlighted the main points of his report to the Human Rights Council, which reviews the cooperation of Member States with the international human rights ecosystem, which includes the 10 Treaty bodies, the Council itself, with its Universal Periodic Review process, investigations and Special Procedures, as well as the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR).