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HRC42: Nordic-Baltic countries address Item 3 General Debate

Human Rights Council 45th Session. 
Item 3: General Debate
 22 September 2020
Nordic-Baltic Intervention 
by H.E. Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi, Estonia

Madame President,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Estonia.

As we are embarking on the decade of action and delivery for the sustainable development goals it is important to keep in mind the human rights-based approach. Human rights and sustainable development goals are inseparable and can only be implemented hand in hand. With the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more important to reach the most vulnerable among us and to leave no one behind.

Agenda 2030 can only be fulfilled with full respect to all human rights, including to women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. In that regard we welcome the OHCHR report on maternal mortality and morbidity. Women and girls’ right to sexual and bodily autonomy is at the core of their human rights, including the right to health. Lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health services, contraceptives and protection from sexual and gender based violence are considerable contributors to maternal morbidity that carries the potential of long-term negative impacts on women’s health and quality of life. Through a human rights-based approach to maternal morbidity States should be able to ensure the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of treatment, as well as preventive services and measures and to strengthen the accountability for human rights denials. 

Finally, we would like to stress that all human rights are universal, interrelated, interdependent, and inherent to every human being. With the view to the SGs report on death penalty, we reiterate our strong opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances. While welcoming the trend towards the universal abolition of the death penalty, we call on all countries who have not yet done so, to immediately stop the executions, especially for the offences committed by minors, with the aim of progressively moving towards the abolition of death penalty. 

Thank you!