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Ministry Statements and Speeches 2011

HRC17: Item 4

Statement by New Zealand, 15 June 2011


Madam Vice President

One of the roles of this Council is to promote and protect the human rights of civilians in conflict.

The indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Libya and the brutal repression of peaceful protestors in Syria demonstrate categorically that these regimes have no respect for the human rights of their own people.

Ghaddafi’s attacks on the people of Libya necessitated international action to provide some protection from these atrocities. We reiterate our strong support for UN Security Council Resolution 1973 and we call again on the Ghaddafi regime to cease all hostilities against civilians; to ensure full access for humanitarian workers; and to protect the rights of journalists.

The report of the Commission of Inquiry on Libya has reached conclusions with regard to a number of serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.  We therefore join calls for all alleged violations to be credibly investigated and for those who have committed violations to be held accountable.

Madame Vice President, the use by Syrian security forces of brutal force, mass arrest and the discharge of live fire on peaceful protestors is not acceptable.

The Assad regime is trampling on the fundamental human rights of its civilians. We call on Syria to respect the rights of its people, including their right to freedom of assembly and of expression, and their right to be free from torture and arbitrary detention.

We share the widespread concern about the difficulty of verifying reports of abuses. We align ourselves fully with the cross-regional statement delivered by Canada, and call on Syria to allow both the Council’s fact-finding mission and a UN humanitarian mission to assess the situation independently. 

Madame Vice President, we conclude with a human rights situation that is of concern in our own region, that of Fiji.

Recent statements by Lieutenant Colonel Mara, a former member of the current regime who has now left Fiji, highlight our long-standing concerns about human rights abuses in Fiji – concerns we have raised in this Council. Mara’s allegations about the regime’s use of intimidation and beatings of pro-democracy activists raise serious questions about human rights in Fiji.
 
Before Fiji can resume its rightful place in the Pacific region and in the wider international community, it must take steps to respect and protect the rights of its citizens.

New Zealand therefore reiterates its call on the regime to respect the human rights of the people of Fiji; to stop acts of violence against political opponents; to lift the Public Emergency Regulations and media controls; to uphold the rule of law, and to return to constitutional democracy. top of page

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Page last updated: Wednesday, 09 January 2013 14:49 NZDT