Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UN HRC52 – UK Statement for Item 2 General Debate [March 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 7 March 2023.

Statement delivered by the UK’s Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Simon Manley, for Item 2 General Debate.

High Commissioner,

As your oral update made clear, as Ukraine enters its second year under Russian attack, the human rights situation continues to deteriorate. And the Commission of Inquiry and your Monitoring Mission play an invaluable role in revealing the extent of the brutality being inflicted on the Ukrainian people.

There is, of course, a simple way for that brutality to end.  End the war, President Putin.

It is also clear that Russian aggression abroad is enabled by repression at home: civil society organisations are banned, tens of thousands of anti-war protesters jailed.  So, there is a simple way to end that too. End the repression, President Putin.

High Commissioner,

Last year, your office provided compelling evidence of China’s serious human rights violations in Xinjiang. In December, 15 distinguished UN experts set out clear recommendations necessary for China to fulfil its international obligations in Xinjiang. And last month, UN Special Rapporteurs expressed alarm at China’s efforts to forcibly assimilate Tibetan identity. These concerns are well-evidenced and widely shared by the international community. We urge the Chinese Government to stop denying the facts, and engage seriously and constructively with these recommendations.

Let me pay tribute to you High Commissioner for visiting Haiti and shining a light on human rights abuses there, including abductions and sexual violence, enabled by rising lawlessness.

In South Sudan, tragically, violence has killed hundreds, displaced tens of thousands, and been accompanied by the most appalling acts of sexual and gender-based violence. That is why the role of the Commission on Human Rights is so important in documenting these violations and abuses.

Just last week, we pledged another $100m of humanitarian assistance to Yemen. That assistance is vital. But it is insufficient, unless accompanied by progress towards a political solution and respect for the human rights – not least the rights of women and children.

Last but not least, we call on both Israel and the Palestinians to take steps to de-escalate, combat terror, and end settler violence; violence and instability has only led to a tragic increase in loss of life in 2022 and the first months of 2023. The people of Israel and the OPTs deserve a better, safer future. We remain committed to a two-state solution that protects the peace and security of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Thank you.