Norway would like to express recognition to Sri Lanka for positive developments in the country since the end of the war in 2009. There is now a historic opportunity for sustainable peace in Sri Lanka. We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to take the bold steps necessary to bring about a political solution and reconciliation. The expected report from the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission will need serious follow up by the Government of Sri Lanka. We urge Sri Lanka to carry out a credible and independent investigation of alleged atrocities in accordance with the recommendation of the UNSG Advisory Panel report. A transparent and accountable investigation will contribute to the country’s healing and reconciliation process.
Norway remains deeply concerned by the continuing systemic human rights violations in Iran. Violations include repression of political dissent, unlawful detentions, torture, and discrimination against religious and other minorities. The dramatic increase in the use of death penalty in Iran gives particular reason for concern. We are disturbed by the report this week of the execution of 17 year old Alireza Molla Soltani. We strongly appeal to the government of Iran of to uphold its obligations under international conventions to which Iran is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Norway remains concerned over the human rights situation in a number of countries in the Middle East. The situation in Syria is especially worrying, and we would like to repeat our call on Syrian authorities to abstain from the use of violence and to respect fundamental human rights.
Norway is also deeply concerned over the latest reports on the human rights situation in Yemen, characterized by comprehensive acts of violence against civilians. Norway condemns the Yemen authorities’ use of violence and killing of civilian population. We call on the authorities to protect peaceful protesters, refrain from brutal violence and bring those responsible to justice.
In Bahrain, we are concerned over reports of violations against people who are associated with the anti-government protests earlier this year. We call on Bahraini authorities to investigate these matters and secure basic human rights and medical treatment for all.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo elections are due to take place in November this year. We urge the government to ensure a level playing field for all candidates and political parties in these elections in order for them to run their election campaigns, to ensure that media workers are able to express their opinions freely and without harassment, and to facilitate access for international observers. We appeal to all participants in the election to avoid inciting violence against other parties and candidates to the elections.
Norway is concerned about systematic violations by the government of Swaziland on the Right to Freedom of Assembly and Association, including the banning of political parties. Reports of forceful disruption of peaceful marches, rallies and protests, including through the use of violence and arbitrary detention are a source of grave concern. Furthermore, reports of pre-trial detention, police violence and alleged torture of individuals in police custody are alarming. We condemn the systematic harassment and assault of human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists. We appeal to the Government of Swaziland to engage with its citizens on all dimensions to prepare for an improved economic and social development, and to seek for an open and constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders.
Norway notes the establishment of the Reconciliation and Truth Commission in Cote d’Ivoir, as well as the arrests and indictments of former president Gbagbo and many of his associates for crimes committed in the period following the presidential elections in November 2010. These are important steps, but justice needs to be meted out to all who have been involved in gross violations of human rights in the post-election period. These include forces loyal to president Ouattara. There cannot be a credible reconciliation process without proper justice.
Finally, we urge the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to co-operate with international partners in order to improve the human rights situation. Norway would like to emphasize the importance of co-operating with the UN Special Rapporteur and following up on the 117 recommendations provided to the DPKR during the UPR. Given the very serious humanitarian situation, it is important that international humanitarian organizations are granted free access in order to do their work.