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HRC45: Denmark expresses concern about human rights situation in Belarus, Hong Kong, OPT, Iran, Saudi Arabia, DPRK and Bahrain

United Nations Human Rights Council
45th Session
23 September 2020
Item 4: General Debate
Statement by Denmark

Mdm. President,
Denmark aligns itself with the EU statement and refers to our statements related to the interactive dialogues on Myanmar, Syria and South Sudan. 

The situation in Belarus is a cause for serious concern with violent aggressions, including reports of the use of torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions. We urge the Belarusian authorities to respect the basic rights to peaceful assembly and to the freedom of opinion and expression.

We share the grave concern expressed in the EU statement on Hong Kong especially with regard to the extensive erosion of rights and freedoms following the newly adoption and entry into force of the National Security Law. 

With regard to the occupied Palestinian territory, we strongly oppose Israel’s continued expansion of settlements, which are illegal and undermine the prospects for a peaceful and negotiated two-state solution, based on internationally agreed parameters and in accordance with international law. We urge all parties, including the Palestinian Authority and non-state actors, to comply with international law.  

Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran we remain deeply concerned about the authorities’ response to the popular protests as noted in the report by the Special Rapporteur in July. We urge the authorities to review the conditions for prisoners, especially in light of COVID-19, and ensure the right to fair and free trial. While we acknowledge recent reform initiatives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, implementation is paramount, and we find the continued persecution of civil society activists deeply worrying. We also note with concern the continued use of torture and the death penalty in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and in Iran.

We urgently call upon the Government of DPRK to immediately halt the very grave human rights violations and fully implement the recommendations of HRC and UNGA resolutions. We very strongly encourage DPRK without hesitation to engage with the UN system in compliance with international human rights law standards. 

Finally, we reiterate our call for the release of all arbitrarily detained persons in Bahrain, including the Danish-Bahraini citizen Mr. Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja; a victim of torture who needs treatment and rehabilitation.

Thank you.