Human Rights Council 48th Session
Item 4: GD Human Rights Situation that require the Council’s attention
Statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway
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24 September 2021
The right to freedom of expression, including access to information, is a fundamental human right in itself, and a prerequisite for democracy and the realisation of other human rights. All people have the right to express themselves freely in the public domain without fear of surveillance, discrimination, violence, or any form of abuse. This can only be safeguarded through an independent, competent, and impartial judiciary.
In many countries, freedom of expression and media freedom are under severe pressure. Norway is gravely concerned about the extensive use of surveillance technology to monitor and control individuals, and to censor expressions online and offline.
The disregard for free expression and the brutal punishment for those who try to exercise their rights in the DPRK, Equatorial Guinea and Eritrea is unacceptable.
We urge Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan to release all persons that are imprisoned because of their opinions or expressions.
We urge Bahrain, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to respect human rights, protect human right defenders and take measures towards more transparency and independence of the judiciary.
We call on China to respect, protect and ensure the freedom om expression of all citizens, and to allow UN-mandated observers unrestricted access to Xinjiang.
I thank you.