UN Human Rights Council 42 – UK delivers statement under Item 2 General Debate


The Human Rights Council takes place in Geneva.

The United Kingdom welcomes the High Commissioner’s report.

Continued human rights violations and abuses in Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions and the lack of protection of human rights through judicial process are deeply concerning. Cameroon’s openness to engage with the UN on human rights must be matched by action to establish a credible political dialogue.

In Zimbabwe, we are concerned by the heavy-handed police response to protests in Harare on 16 August and the recent arrests and abductions of opposition activists; those responsible must be held accountable. We urge Zimbabwe to respect constitutional rights to protest peacefully, and to translate commitments on economic and political reform into actions.

In Bangladesh, we are concerned about action that undermines freedom of expression, and the narrowing of political space following the 2018 election. Bangladesh’s stated commitment to engage on human rights and uphold democratic principles now needs to be matched by action, reflecting the values enshrined in its constitution.

We continue to be concerned about the limitations on freedom of expression in Vietnam. We welcome Vietnamese engagement with the UPR process and acceptance of our recommendations. We look forward to seeing swift progress on implementation. We welcome Vietnam’s commitment addressing the legacies of conflict, as well women, peace and security issues during its UN Security Council tenure.

We urge the Philippines to thoroughly investigate killings associated with the war on drugs; to take meaningful steps to ensure the safety of human rights defenders, labour rights activists and media professionals; and not to reinstate the death penalty.

We remain concerned about Hong Kong but welcome the Chief Executive’s recent announcements as important steps. Meaningful political dialogue, under Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, is essential. We re-iterate our support for and call for all to respect ‘One Country, Two Systems’ including the rights and freedoms in the Joint Declaration.

Finally, we are concerned by the recent use of the death penalty in Bahrain, and urge Bahrain to introduce a moratorium on its use.

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