Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UN HRC54 – UK Statement under Item 4 General Debate [September 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 28 September 2023.

Statement under Item 4 General Debate. Delivered by UK Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French, on 26 September 2023 at the UN’s 54th Human Rights Council.

Thank you Mr President,

We have long had concerns about human rights in Russia. But it is deeply disturbing to see the return of Soviet-era violations. Neighbour denouncing neighbour, politically motivated detentions, and mass forced deportations. We will continue to shine a spotlight on Russia’s repression of its own people and its systematic crackdown on civil society. It’s time to end the illegal aggression against Ukraine.

China continues to disregard human rights. Constraining civil society, denying freedom of expression, and of religion or belief. Systematic violations persist in Xinjiang and Tibet, where the UN reports a million Tibetan children have been separated from their families to assimilate them into Han culture. In Hong Kong politicised prosecutions against Jimmy Lai, the ‘NSL 47’, and journalists exemplify authorities’ targeted campaign to repress criticism. We urge China to uphold its human rights obligations, and the rights of its own people enshrined in its own Constitution.

One year after the tragic death of Mahsa Amini, Iran continues repressing women and girls. Through the new Hijab and Chastity Bill, the authorities seek to police what women wear and how they behave. Iran must listen to its people and respect women’s rights. Woman, Life, Freedom.

We welcome the recent releases of a number of opposition and rights activists in Egypt. We call on Egypt to continue on this positive path and release other human rights defenders, including Alaa Abd El-Fattah, as soon as possible. We continue to urge Egypt to ensure independent media and civil society can operate freely.

Finally, decisive action is needed to ensure accountability in Sudan for the horrific violence being inflicted on the people of Sudan by both parties to the conflict, particularly in Khartoum and Darfur.

We expressed our concerns about Afghanistan and Myanmar and other situations in other statements to this Council.