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UN Human Rights Council 55: UK National Declaration

UN Human Rights Council 55: UK National Declaration


Mr. President,

The United Kingdom is proud to stand up for freedom and democracy.

We welcome the attention the Human Rights Council shines on the most serious human rights violations and abuses and its work to hold those responsible to account.

I welcome the opportunity to reflect on three key areas of concern.

Ukraine / Russia

Starting with President Putin's barbaric assault on Ukraine, which has been marked by some horrific human rights violations.

Within the last week, we have seen reports from Ukrainian authorities of the execution of their soldiers by Russian forces.

The independent commission of inquiry has uncovered mounting evidence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

From acts of torture and sexual violence to the killing and forced deportation of innocent civilians, it is vital to establish the full facts and gather evidence.

Only then can we bring those responsible to justice.

It is imperative that this session renews the Commission's mandate.

Turning to matters within Russia, we were horrified by the news of Alexei Navalny's death and hold the Russian authorities fully responsible.

We extend our deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Navalnys and we are glad that his body has finally been returned.

There must be a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death.

We reiterate our call for the release of all prisoners in Russia on political grounds, including dual British citizen Vladimir Kara-Murza.

Israel / OPTs

Now turning to Israel, the immediate priority must be a humanitarian pause in the fighting, which is the best way to ensure the safe release of the hostages and to significantly increase aid reaching Gaza.

We want this pause to lead to a lasting ceasefire without a return to further fighting.

This remains the focus of our diplomatic efforts.

There must be a reduction in civilian casualties and we call on all parties to act within international humanitarian law.

We are particularly concerned about the possibility of a military offensive in Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's residents have taken refuge.

We call on Israel to exercise greater care to limit its operations to military targets and to avoid harming civilians and destroying homes.

Meanwhile, we have sanctioned extremist Israeli settlers involved in some of the worst human rights abuses in the West Bank.

The UK remains committed to a two-state solution, guaranteeing security and stability for Israelis and Palestinians.

We must build momentum now toward a lasting peace.

The UK wants to see all countries face due scrutiny of their human rights records, but opposes the disproportionate focus of Article 7, which undermines efforts to achieve peace.


Meanwhile, the UK will continue to press the Chinese authorities to improve their human rights record, including in multilateral institutions, where last year we led another record statement to the Third Committee on Xinjiang.

In Hong Kong, we call on the authorities to repeal the National Security Law and release Jimmy Lai.

Mr. President, I have reflected on only three of the many areas of concern.

We also continue to closely monitor developments in Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar and other countries where citizens are being violated the most basic rights.

Also South Sudan, where we have seen horrific cases of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as the targeting of journalists.

It is vital that the mandate of the Human Rights Commission is extended.

Those who abuse or violate these rights must be held accountable.

We will continue to support all efforts, including by this Council, to ensure that this is the case.




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