HRC46 Oral Statement for the General debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner

Press release

UN Human Rights Council - 46th Session

Item 2 - General debate on oral update by the High Commissioner (HC), her reports on OHCHR activities in Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras and other HC reports and oral updates (COVID-19, Cyprus, Eritrea and Venezuela as per res. 45/2)

25-26 February 2021

Madam High Commissioner,

FIDH echoes your assessment that the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on human rights issues and further exacerbated inequalities around the world. Along with you, we call on UN Member States, especially members of the Human Rights Council, to urgently take a human rights-based approach to address the most urgent situations[, including those that are not on the Council’s agenda].

Situations that require the Council’s attention but are not on its agenda are of particular concerns to us, [and it is the Council’s responsibility to address human rights violations in countries where they go unnoticed and are unaccounted for].

In Egypt , we strongly condemn the severe restrictions on independent civil society and calls to respect fundamental human rights, which has led to the arbitrary detention of more than 60 000 political prisoners. [The arbitrary arrest of 3 members of the NGO EIPR last November for having met with foreign State representatives brought to international light yet another example of the repressive policy operating in Egypt.] The Council must address this human rights situation for its scale and continuity, and establish a dedicated monitoring and reporting mechanism on Egypt. We also condemn Egypt’s broad definition of terrorism which is repeatedly used to silence and arrest critics and dissent with spurious charges[; and we call on States to reject the use of this definition at the international level and to protect the international standards set by the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.]

China is another situation that requires the Council’s attention. In addition to the well-documented widespread and systematic human rights violations against ethnic minorities, including in Tibet and Xinjiang, we raise the alarm over China’s failure to uphold its extraterritorial obligations in relation to the business activities of its companies abroad – a situation that has resulted in increasing violations of economic, social, and cultural rights [1] . We reiterate our call to establish an international independent mechanism to address the Chinese government’s human rights violations, and urge members of the Council to take decisive action to achieve this goal [2] .

I thank you.

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