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Norway's statement during the General Debate

President,

We address the human rights situation in Syria, Eritrea and Belarus in dialogues scheduled separately, and align ourselves with the joint statement presented by the Irish delegation on the human rights situation in Azerbaijan.

The massive human rights violations taking place in South Sudan are causing serious concern. The reports of killings and sexual violence are shocking. Such grave violence against civilians cannot pass with impunity. The Government must investigate these incidents and prosecute the persons responsible. The Government of South Sudan has the main responsibility to protect its own people. We strongly urge the Government to take responsibility and ensure security and humanitarian access to those in need.

Norway opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. It is encouraging that the global movement towards abolition has led to more than four out of five countries stopping executions or abolishing the death penalty.

We are, however, deeply concerned about the alarming number of executions carried out in several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan. We underline that according to international human rights law, the death sentence cannot, under any circumstance, be imposed on a defendant who was a minor at the time of the crime.

The death penalty can only be considered for ‘the most serious crimes’. Drug trafficking does not meet this threshold. In this context, also the recent developments in Indonesia have given rise to concern.

We regret the persistent worsening of the conditions for civil society in the Russian Federation. We urge the Russian Federation to uphold its international human rights obligations, and to repeal legislation that de jure or de facto limits individuals’ and organisations’ legitimate exercise of their rights, including the laws on foreign agents, on treason, on propaganda for non-traditional sexuality and on undesirable organisations. We strongly encourage the Russian Federation to promote an inclusive environment and stop the negative portrayal in state-sponsored media of LGBT and human rights activists.