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GD on item 4

Item 4: General debate on human rights situations that require the Council`s attention. Statement by Norway on 12 March 2019, as delivered by Director Hilde Klemetsdal.

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President,

Human rights defenders are victims of repression, threats, harassment and murder. Impunity for perpetrators of violence and abuses against them remain alarmingly high. This is unacceptable.

Environmental human rights defenders face inhuman conditions. They are valuable partners working to advance the 2030 agenda and the SDGs. They are not threats. Therefore, we call on the Council to adopt an ambitious resolution on environmental human rights defenders and thereby send a strong message for their protection and support.

We are concerned with the shrinking civic space in too many countries. Ensuring the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly should be a key priority for all states. Norway urges Saudi Arabia, Iran and Bahrain to create a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders, in particular for women human rights defenders and journalists.

We encourage all states, including members of this Council who have committed themselves to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights”, to abolish death penalty and refrain for carrying out executions.

The human rights situation in Venezuela is of grave concern. We urge the Venezuelan government to provide unhindered access for international humanitarian aid, to protect civilians and uphold fundamental human rights. An inclusive political process is crucial in order to achieve a peaceful solution to the crisis.

We remain concerned about the human rights situation in Nicaragua. We are pleased to note the resumption of national dialogue, and encourage the government to reengage with the OAS and the OHCHR.

Thank you.