Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s participation in a regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Monday, 29 February 2016 12:14

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will speak at a high-profile event during the 31st session of the Human Rights Council, which will take place in Geneva on March 1.

Sergey Lavrov will make an opening statement at the high-level panel discussion on the on the 50th anniversary of adoption and the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Covenants on Human Rights: universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of all human rights. This topic was included in the agenda of the 31st session in accordance with the Russia-initiated HRC Resolution 29/1 on the anniversary of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the anniversary of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In 2016, the international community marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption and the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the International Covenant on Human Rights, which became the first legally binding international human rights instrument. The anniversary is a good opportunity to take note of the fact that there is no hierarchic relationship between the categories of human rights and the rights as such. Their continuity ensures the continuation of our joint efforts to improve the human condition around the world and face today’s challenges and threats in this area together.

This important event provides us with a good opportunity to analyse the record and the exchange of best practices with regard to the fulfilment by the states of their obligations under the aforementioned International Covenants. We call on all states to become party to them without limitations or reservations. This would be an important step in the reinforcement of international security and the promotion of human rights.

Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State-Building Andrei Klishas will speak at the high-level panel discussion about Russia’s experience in the implementation of the Covenants with the emphasis on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The Foreign Minister will hold a traditional meeting with heads of international organisations and heads of their branches in Geneva. They will discuss a wide range of international issues and Russia’s cooperation with these organisations.

It is important to preserve the leading role of states in the promotion and protection of human rights, depoliticising the UN human rights practice, opposition to confrontation and eradication of double standards. We are concerned by the increase in the number of attempts by certain countries to erode the intergovernmental nature of activities performed by international human rights organisations. We are convinced that the fundamental UN human rights principle should be the equal cooperation between states based on the rule of international law and respect for countries’ sovereignty.

We believe that the UN bodies responsible for human rights should not interfere with other UN agencies, including on issues such as peace and security, development, and combating terrorism and human trafficking. UN, as well as international and regional entities, should, first of all, focus on the provision of material assistance to countries that need it.

Russia considers the HRC to be an important human rights body of the UN. At this organisation, we are opposed to the politicisation of human rights and the imposition of narrow interpretations of international standards in this area under the guise of their universality. Every state and every society has the right to choose their own path of development. The HRC should pay equal attention to all categories of rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural, including the right to development.

The corrupt practice of using human rights issues as a tool of political pressure is inadmissible. The improvement of the human rights situation must be addressed through constructive dialogue and cooperation. In this context, we reaffirm the effectiveness of the Universal Periodic Review at the HRC in monitoring the observance of human rights at the international level. The adoption of politicised resolutions on the human rights situation in individual countries without the consent of the states in question does not contribute to the improvement of the real situation on the ground.

A major concern is the situation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The fate of Christians is a special concern, and we will continue to pay close attention to the protection of their rights. We call upon the international community and the UN human rights bodies, including the HRC, to seriously address the political settlement of crises in the MENA region, and the joining of forces in the fight against the terrorist threat and for the protection of Christians.

Violations of the rights of national minorities and religious communities, as well as serious issues with inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations in a number of countries, should be in the focus of human rights bodies. Particular attention should be paid to the fight against racism, xenophobia, the spread of Nazi ideology and ideology of racial superiority, persecution of dissent and reduced media diversity.

February 27, 2016

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