Human Rights Council 49th Session.
Item 4 - General debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention
Statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway
Check against delivery
21 March 2022
Thank you, Mr. President,
Freedom of expression and access to credible information are foundations of democratic societies.
All states must ensure that media workers and independent voices can carry out vital work without fear of surveillance, harassment, violence, and attacks.
Russia’s brutal and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, and Belarus’ involvement in it, has led to horrific human suffering and gross violations of human rights in Ukraine. The situations inside Russia and Belarus have also deteriorated rapidly, with attempts to silence all critical voices, suppression of civil society and independent media, arbitrary arrests, disinformation and censorship. We urge Russia and Belarus to halt the aggression and respect the human rights of the people in Ukraine, and of their own population.
The same pattern of repression takes place in other countries in conflict. Syria, as well as the de facto authorities of Afghanistan and Myanmar, must stop surveillance, attacks and harassment of journalists and civil society. They must ensure that women media workers are safe and able to conduct their work.
We call on China, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to respect, protect and ensure the freedom of expression of all inhabitants. China must ensure unrestricted access to Xinjiang for the High Commissioner.
I thank you.