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Norway's statement during the General Debate

STATEMENT, 19 September 2016

Mr President,

Norway remains concerned by the shrinking space for Human Rights Defenders, civil society and freedom of expression more broadly in several countries in all regions of the world. We also remain acutely aware of the need to ensure that universal rights can be exercised by all people, including women and LGBTI-persons.

Norway remains deeply concerned by the grave and persistent human rights challenges in the DPRK. We urge the authorities to fully cooperate with the UN Human Rights mechanisms and to take measurable steps to implement the recommendations of the HRC and the UN. We also continue to follow the situation in South Sudan with great concern. The humanitarian situation is unacceptable. We call for the implementation of the Peace Agreement and its comprehensive reform package. Furthermore, we encourage enhanced cooperation with the UN Human Rights mechanisms.

The situation in Zimbabwe is of increasing concern. Security forces are brutally dispersing mainly peaceful demonstrations by citizens frustrated by economic and social hardship. Demonstrators have been severely beaten. Demonstration organizers are being subjected to severe threats and reprisals, some fleeing the country, while the Government is targeting social media platforms used by demonstrators to organize themselves, restricting free speech.

In Uzbekistan, we welcome the progress that has been made to eliminate child labour, but urge the country to pursue further efforts to eliminate any form of forced labour and to ease restrictions on the press, on civil society and on religious groups. Finally, we also remain concerned about the pressure on human rights defenders and  the lack of freedom of expression in countries around the Gulf.

Thank you.