GENERAL DEBATE ON THE REPORT OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The 32 session of the Human Rights Council began in the shadow of the killings at Orlando. Opening the session, Choi Kyong-lim, President of the Human Rights Council, stressed that those responsible for the despicable terrorist attacks in Orlando, Damascus, Halgan, Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and elsewhere had to be held accountable.

The High Commissioner said that

On a daily basis, we are witness to horrors of every kind around the world. I extend my condolences and respect to all victims of human rights violations, including the victims of conflict and those who suffer violations of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. I also condemn with the greatest possible force the outrageous attacks by violent extremists on innocent people, chosen at random, or because of their presumed beliefs, or opinions, or – as we saw yesterday – their sexual orientation.

I am very concerned about the dramatically increased number of brutal murders in Bangladesh that target freethinkers, liberals, religious minorities and LGBT activists. I note recent reports of police arrests, and I urge that investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of these vicious crimes be made a priority, with full respect for human rights. I also urge all government officials and political and religious leaders to unequivocally condemn these attacks on freedom, and to do more to protect affected groups.

Hate is becoming mainstreamed. Walls – which tormented previous generations, and have never yielded any sustainable solution to any problem – are returning. Barriers of suspicion are rising, snaking through and between our societies – and they are killers. Clampdowns on public freedoms, and crackdowns on civil society activists and human rights defenders, are hacking away at the forces which uphold the healthy functioning of societies. Judicial institutions which act as checks on executive power are being dismantled. Towering inequalities are hollowing out the sense that there are no common goods.

Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the host country, condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Orlando, United States, and extended sympathy to families of the victims.

Chile was committed to combat discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender equality, and was convinced that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons deserved protection from human rights violations. Chile expressed condolences to the United States after the Orlando attacks.

Spain stressed that the Council must address violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, and also pay more attention to the current reversal in the universal abolition of the death penalty

Pakistan condemned the Orlando killings.

Jordan extended condolences to the United States for the Orlando attack.

Argentina appreciated the work of the Council on inclusion and believed that the world should be a place where gender, sexual orientation or other grounds were not reasons for exclusion.  Argentina rejected the violent attack in Orlando.