UN Human Rights Council 45: statement under Item 2 – General Debate.
The UK’s International Ambassador for Human Rights, Rita French, delivered this statement during the Item 2 General Debate commenting on Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Vietnam, Belarus, Iran and DPRK.
Thank you Madam President.
We welcome the High Commissioner’s report.
Two years since President Mnangagwa’s inauguration, the human rights situation in Zimbabwe remains deeply concerning. Journalists, civil society activists, and opposition politicians face targeted arrests, violence and abduction. Accountability for human rights violations is absent. Worryingly, it appears COVID-19 is being used as a pretext to ban demonstrations and limit media freedom. We call on the Government to respect the rights enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution.
The protection of civilians in Cameroon remains a concern. While we welcome the Government’s investigation into the events at Ngarbuh in February, we urge accountability for those who violated and abused human rights there, as we do for all such incidents.
We are concerned about restrictions on freedoms of expression and assembly in Vietnam. We call for the better protection of journalists, and for all citizens to have access to free, independent, media.
We remain concerned by the repression of people in Nicaragua who speak out against the government, as well as restrictions on peaceful assembly, harassment, and arbitrary detentions.
In Belarus, we have been shocked by the violence and human rights violations that have been used to suppress peaceful protest.
Finally, we remain deeply concerned about the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Iran, and the DPRK, and attacks on freedom of religion or belief and media freedom in many countries.