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Item 4 – General Debate on Human Rights Situations

Last updated: 02.07.2012 // Item 4 – General Debate on Human Rights Situations. Statement by Norway.

Norway is alarmed by the situation in Syria. To underscore the severity of the situation: it is difficult to describe it as anything else than a civil war. The regime in Damascus has over the course of the past month orchestrated massacres where children, women and men were slaughtered. These dreadful acts are systematic and deliberate and constitute blatant violations of international law. We reiterate that the violence must stop immediately, and that those responsible must be brought to justice.

The human rights situation in Iran is a continuing cause of concern.  Violations include repression of political dissent, unlawful detentions, torture, and discrimination against religious and other minorities. The situation for human rights defenders is of grave concern. The sentencing of the lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is a case in point. The widespread use of death penalty in Iran gives particular reason for concern.

Norway is aligned with the joint statement presented by Switzerland on the human rights situation in Bahrain. We commend the report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and welcome the commitment expressed by the government to implement all its recommendations.

Norway is disturbed by reports of numerous war crimes committed by armed groups in Northern Mali, such as rape of women and young girls, use of child soldiers and pillaging of hospitals and aid agencies. We call on the leaders of the armed groups in control of Northern Mali to immediately enforce discipline within its ranks and prohibit any kind of mistreatment of civilians. We also call on the interim government in Bamako to work with ECOWAS, AU and the UN to find a political solution in Mali that will enable the re-establishment of rule of law in the country.

Norway is deeply concerned by the situation in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where breakaway armed groups of the have caused an escalation in human rights violations, including sexual and gender based violence. There is an urgent need to restore security and to ensure respect for human rights. The current developments require the urgent attention of all countries in the region.

Norway is concerned by the continued negative developments on the human rights situation in Swaziland. We appeal to the Government of Swaziland to honor its obligations to allow freedom of speech, association and assembly, and to seek for an open and constructive dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including political opposition and trade unions.

Norway continues to be concerned regarding what appears to be a worsening of the human rights situation across Eurasia.  Journalists, civil society representatives and human rights defenders are experiencing that their freedom of speech and assembly is under threat. There is an urgent need for legal reform, transparent and accountable electoral processes and anti-corruption measures throughout the region.

On the human rights situation in Belarus, Norway takes due note of the conclusions and recommendations of the High Commissioner. We fully support the establishment of a Special Rapporteur for Belarus and encourage other delegations to do the same.

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