Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nada al-Nashif highlighted the growing desperation of millions of people trapped in a never-ending cycle of human rights violations, violence, and political instability in dozens of countries around the world.
She addressed the worsening situation in numerous countries in Africa, including Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Mali. She offered a rare glimmer of hope regarding the nearly two-year old conflict in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray province.
“Following the recent resumption of hostilities in northern Ethiopia, I am encouraged by the announcement yesterday by authorities in Tigray of their readiness to abide by an immediate cessation of hostilities and to participate in a robust peace process under the auspices of the African Union. I urge the parties to take immediate steps to end the violence once and for all, and to opt for constructive and genuine dialogue,” she said.
She dwelled at length on the unbearable levels of violence and human rights abuses by heavily armed gangs in Haiti. She called on the international community to help contain the scourge of violence in that country.
However, she made only passing reference to China’s incarceration of more than a million Uyghur and other Muslim minorities in so-called vocational centers. This is despite growing demands by human rights activists for a special debate on this issue at the Council.
“On 31 August, my Office published its assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, with recommendations to the Government and other stakeholders,” she said.
Acting High Commissioner, al-Nashif, was more robust in her criticism of Russia’s actions aimed at quelling domestic opposition to its war in Ukraine.
“In the Russian Federation, the intimidation, restrictive measures and sanctions against people voicing opposition to the war in Ukraine undermine the exercise of constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms… Pressures against journalists, blocking of internet resources and other forms of censorship are incompatible with media pluralism and violate the right to access of information,” she said.
Al-Nashif said the war in Ukraine continues and the suffering of the civilian population continues. She noted the serious socio-economic consequences of the war also persist. This, she said, has resulted in severe fuel shortages and threats to food security in some of the world’s poorest countries.
She added the devastation caused by the war in Ukraine will be discussed later in the session.