Human Rights Council concludes general debate on High Commissioner’s global human rights update


15 September 2020

​15 September 2020


The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its general debate on the global human rights update by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and her updates on Nicaragua and Venezuela.

The general debate started in previous meetings and summaries can be found here and here.


In the general debate, speakers urged the restitution of political freedoms in Nicaragua and called for free and fair elections in the country. While some speakers deplored the degradation of the human rights situation in Venezuela, others stated that the Government's provision of social services free of charge attested to its goodwill. Universal coercive measures were condemned. Some speakers called on the international community to embrace the normalization of relations between Israel, and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Some noted that reports presented before the Council too often strayed from the principles of objectivity and impartiality. Expressing alarm about the situation in Belarus, speakers said the presidential election in that country had been neither free nor fair. Governments should accommodate trans and gender non-conforming people when implementing measures responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, some speakers urged. All States must do their utmost to prevent violence, threats, attacks and discrimination against journalists and media workers, and to ensure that they could fulfil their functions without undue influence.

Human rights issues in or concerning the following countries and areas were also raised : Iran, Turkey, Russian Federation, China, the occupied Palestinian territories, Israel, Hong Kong, China, Syria, Belarus, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Libya, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Spain, Gambia, Guatemala, Lebanon, Nepal, Philippines, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, United States, the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, Belarus, Russian Federation, Viet Nam, Cameroon, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Armenia, Jammu and Kashmir, Lesbos island in Greece, Tanzania, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, Western Sahara, Morocco, Switzerland, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia and Egypt.

Some countries, such as Switzerland, Mali, Tanzania and Montenegro talked about their own human rights situations in response to comments.

Speaking in the general debate were Eritrea, France, Liechtenstein, Israel, Jordan, Ecuador, China (video message), Slovenia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Belgium, Maldives, Portugal, Estonia, Morocco, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sweden, Greece, Thailand, Botswana, Switzerland, Uganda, Malta, Luxembourg, Latvia, Croatia, Montenegro, Algeria, Lebanon, Russian Federation, Belarus, Albania, Ireland, Georgia, Norway, Syria, United Kingdom, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Paraguay, Turkey, Tunisia, Myanmar (video statement), Cambodia, Ethiopia, Mali, United Republic of Tanzania, Niger, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, Iceland, Burundi and Iran.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor : American Association of Jurists, Mouvement international d'apostolat des milieux sociaux indépendants, Human Rights Watch, Make Mothers Matter, Right Livelihood Award Foundation, International Service for Human Rights, Association Ma'onah for Human Rights and Immigration, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International-Lawyers.Org, Ingenieurs du Monde, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, United Nations Watch, Human Rights Information and Training Center, iuventum e.V., International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, World Evangelical Alliance, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, Amnesty International, Global Action on Aging, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, International Federation for the Protection of the Rights of Ethnic, Religious, Linguistic and Other Minorities, Stichting CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, Caritas Internationalis (International Confederation of Catholic Charities), International Commission of Jurists, World Vision International, France Libertes : Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Association pour les Victimes Du Monde, Le Pont, and Tamil Uzhagam.

Brazil, Chad, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, India, Russian Federation, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Armenia, China, Ukraine, Algeria, Cambodia, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Ethiopia and Azerbaijan spoke in right of reply.

The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council's forty-fifth regular session can be found here.

The Council will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 16 September, to hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery.


For use of the information media; not an official record

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