Comment by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the re-election of Ukraine to the United Nations Human Rights Council
14 October 2020 10:53

On October 13, 2020 the United Nations General Assembly re-elected Ukraine to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 2021-2023 term, confirming the credibility of our state in the main UN human rights body.

As a founding member of the United Nations Ukraine is committed to the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From the very beginning, we supported the establishment of the UN Human Rights Council in 2006 and became its initial member. Ukraine is convinced that the Council must further promote human rights by ensuring universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues.

Ukraine believes that sustainable international peace and security cannot be achieved without ensuring human rights and freedoms. Since 2010, the Council has been adopting by consensus resolutions entitled "The role of prevention in the promotion and protection of human rights" initiated by Ukraine.

Today the Council fulfills its crucial mandate in unprecedented conditions, as the world continues to face gross human rights violations due to arbitrary interpretation and disregard by some of the UN Charter and other international legal obligations. Ending the long-lasting suffering of the civilian population in the armed conflict in Syria, as well as mass violations of fundamental rights and freedoms in Belarus as a result of ignoring the will of the majority of the country's population, should remain on the UNHRC agenda.

The violations of international law through armed aggression and temporary occupation result in large-scale attacks on human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Therefore, we will responsibly fulfill our obligations to our own people – to those who are suffering today from the Russian occupation of the Crimean peninsula and certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. We will constantly raise the issue of the Russian aggression before the Council, put spotlight on crimes and gross human rights violations committed by Russia as an occupying power, work towards more active involvement of the UNHRC, its special procedures, OHCHR and human rights treaty bodies, in order to stop human rights violations and alleviate the plight of the Ukrainian citizens illegally detained by Russia. We will continue to make efforts to include the human rights pillar into the Crimean platform.

As a responsible international partner, Ukraine attaches special importance to the requirements of the UN General Assembly Resolution 60/251 on the election of members of the UN Human Rights Council. We are concerned about the continued membership in the Council, including following recent elections, of the states that deliberately pursue a policy of suppressing the rights of their own citizens, and even a neo-imperial aggressive policy towards neighboring states and repression of the local population in the occupied territories.

Although today the Council, in terms of its membership, is drifting away from the ideals set by the world leaders in 2005, Ukraine will remain committed to the universal protection of human rights and stands ready to continue working hard with its partners to enable the UNHRC to act effectively in fulfilling its core mandate – ensuring and protecting human rights at the global level.

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