Our deep concerns related to the deteriorating situation in Syria are expressed in the cross-regional statement by Turkey and the Nordic statement by Denmark.
Norway is deeply concerned by the human rights situation in the Sudan, including reports of bombing in conflict areas which indiscriminately hit civilians. We urge the Government of the Sudan to give international humanitarian actors access to all parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and we call on all parties to seek a negotiated political solution to the conflict. The independent expert on human rights must be given full access to all parts of the country, and provisions for human rights monitoring and reporting must be included in the mandate.
We are also concerned by inter-ethnic conflicts in South Sudan and reports of widespread violence, especially against women and children. The Government of South Sudan must ensure that the armed forces abide by recognized standards and protect the civilian population.
Norway is disturbed by reports of human rights abuses in Mali. We welcome an ICC investigation into reports of massacres, rape and torture of the civilian population, and the destroying of ancient shrines, committed by armed Islamic groups. Human rights abuses committed by the Malian army in the south against dissidents and civilians must equally be investigated.
We remain deeply concerned by the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the M23 and other armed groups have caused an escalation in human rights violations, including summary executions, sexual and gender based violence and recruitment of child soldiers. There is an urgent need to restore security and to ensure respect for human rights in the DRC.
Norway continues to be deeply worried by the human rights situation in Iran, including the situation for human rights defenders. The sentencing of the lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani is a case in point, as is the case of Nasrin Sotudeh. The extensive use of death penalty in Iran is a particular concern. Norway welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule the death sentence against Pastor Yousef Naderkhani and his subsequent release from prison. Norway encourages Iranian authorities to release all prisoners of conscience.
In Saudi Arabia the authorities claim there are no political prisoners, but recently the crackdown on pro-democracy and human rights’ campaigners has intensified. People voicing their criticism of the Saudi leadership risk being convicted to several years in prison. This illustrates a fundamental lack of freedom of expression. We urge the government of Saudi Arabia to abide by recognized human rights standards, including civil and political rights.
Norway is deeply concerned about new reports of violations of human rights in Bahrain. We are disappointed by the recent decision by the Bahrain Court of Appeal to uphold life sentences against 20 persons who used their rights to freedom of expression. Norway strongly encourages the Bahraini authorities to deliver on the recommendations of the BICI-report as well as the recommendations put forward during the UPR on Bahrain of May 2012.
Norway remains deeply concerned about the human rights situation in the DPRK. Acknowledging the participation of the DPRK in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) procedures, we still anticipate a clear position of the DPRK on the 117 recommendations given. We call on the DPRK to co-operate with the UN Special Rapporteur and grant him access to the country.
Norway gives high priority to the fight against the death penalty. The recent executions in The Gambia and the increasing number of executions in Iraq are in stark contrast to the global trend towards ending the use of the death penalty. We urge all States that have not yet done so, to halt all executions and introduce an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty, aiming to abolish it.
Norway takes note of the discussions in European fora such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE and share the concerns related to the situation in Hungary. The ongoing dialogue between the Venice Commission and the Hungarian Government is important for securing adherence to European fundamental values and minorities’ rights, including Roma.
Furthermore, we remain concerned about negative trends in the human rights situation in a number of countries in Eurasia, notably in the situation for journalists, civil society representatives, human rights defenders and sexual minorities (LHBT).