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HRC37 High Level Segment: Statement delivered by Minister for Foreign Affairs  Anders Samuelsen.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Anders Samuelsen, delivered today a statement during the High Level Segment of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council.

26.02.2018  16:18


Delivered by
 Minister for Foreign Affairs
 Anders Samuelsen

Genève, Monday 26 February 2018

 Mr. President, High Commissioner, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seventy years ago, the world was recovering from the atrocities of tyranny, genocide and global war. The drafters of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights knew from personal experience that human liberty is decisive for peace, security and prosperity. The rights and welfare of all men, women and children stand at the heart of the United Nations.

It is our shared responsibility to fulfil the promises we made to each other in 1948. We owe it to the victims of oppression. And we owe it to future generations - our children and grandchildren. 

The Human Rights Council is crucial for our constructive dialogue and collaboration on human rights issues. We must constantly strive to make the best possible use of the Council.
 We should focus more on implementation. Translate human rights obligations and universal norms into local reality. Strengthen capacity building and technical support.

We also need to achieve universal participation in the work of the Human Rights Council. All voices must be heard - governments and civil society alike.
 Denmark will double our annual contribution to the Trust Fund to support the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Council [450.000 USD].  

The Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are cornerstones in our global human rights system. Denmark is deeply committed to supporting the independent work of the Office. Politically, morally and financially.

I am therefore very pleased to announce that we will also double our annual voluntary un-earmarked contribution to the OHCHR to nearly 10 million USD [9,945,677 USD]. 


Mr. President,

Collectively, we have made tremendous progress during these 70 years. But human rights continue to be violated. Every day. All around the world.

Denmark is committed to supporting a democratic transition in Myanmar. However, the grave human rights violations carried out in Northern Rakhine by Myanmar’s security forces must stop. Impunity must end. And perpetrators must be held accountable. The Government of Myanmar should fully respect media and press freedoms.

Denmark strongly condemns the continuing grave and systematic violations of human rights by the DPRK regime.

We also continue to witness abhorrent abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Syria. I condemn in the strongest of terms the Syrian regime’s indiscriminate bombings and complete disregard for civilian lives in Eastern Ghouta [Hoo-ta].

In Burundi we are faced with continued human rights violations. In South Sudan we are concerned about the hostilities and humanitarian situation. In Yemen, we urge all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities. And the political instability and lack of rule of law in Libya equally requires full international attention.

We note with serious concern the continued use of executions. Key regional actors in the Middle East such as Iran and Saudi Arabia have a special responsibility in this regard.

We remain concerned by the worsening human rights situation in Bahrain and we repeat our call for the release of the Danish-Bahraini citizen Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja.
 Finally, Denmark remains deeply concerned by the worsening human rights situation in Eastern Ukraine and in illegally annexed Crimea. Human rights actors and monitors should be granted free access and humanitarian access ensured.

Mr. President,

The upcoming anniversary of the Declaration is an opportunity for all of us to remind each other of our fundamental rights. And more importantly it is an opportunity to act.  In particular, in this session…

…We must recall the absolute and universal prohibition against torture. Denmark will present to the Council a draft resolution on the negative impact of corruption on this fundamental human right, and we continue our work through the inter-governmental Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) to ensure universal ratification and better implementation of the Convention against torture by 2024.

We must recall that everyone has the right to freedom of religion or belief. In January this year, Denmark established a dedicated unit in our Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enhance our efforts globally on this important topic.

We must recall that no one shall be subject to discrimination. This, of course, also means women and girls. Gender equality is a core value for Denmark, and we are dedicated to promoting full and equal opportunities for all women and men – and girls and boys - in all spheres of life.

Denmark is a staunch supporter of the Human Rights Council. We have been actively engaged in the Council’s work since its creation. But we have never had the opportunity to serve as a member.

We now stand as a candidate for the period 2019 to 2021 with the support of the Nordic countries. Our candidature is based on our core principles “Dignity”, “Dialogue” and “Development”. We hope for your support in the upcoming election.

Mr. President,
 The Declaration on Human Rights remains as important today as it was 70 years ago.  It commits each of us to look critically at ourselves. And to engage in dialogue with others on the basis of shared values.
 It provides an indispensable document for our continued struggle. We must use the upcoming anniversary to reconnect this message to young people, all over the world.

Thank you, Mr President!