HRC52 - Item 3: EU Statement


52nd Session

(27 February – 4 April 2023)

EU statement

Item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and
cultural rights, including the right to development


Ms Anna Jardfelt

Permanent Representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union

Geneva, 16 March 2023- CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY -


Mr. President, 

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The candidate countries North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Ukraine, Republic of Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina[*], the potential candidate country Georgia, the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.

We thank the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner and his Office for the reports under Item 3.

Last year marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities. The EU welcomes the High Commissioner’s report on the OHCHR’s work to promote respect for the content of the Declaration - from early warning and prevention, to supporting legislative efforts to combat the exclusion of persons belonging to minorities and promote their equality and participation.

As recognized in the preamble of the Declaration, the promotion and protection of the rights of persons belonging to minorities contributes to the political and social stability of States. Lack of respect for their rights remains at the heart of many of the world’s conflicts. Persons belonging to minorities are part of effective international conflict prevention.

States must intensify their efforts to address all forms of discrimination against persons belonging to minorities, including those affected by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination such as  women, youth,persons with disabilities, and older persons. Their full, inclusive and meaningful participation in society, and in peacemaking and peacebuilding, is essential.

Mr. President,

For over a year now, we are facing the devastating consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It has exacerbated the multiple and overlapping challenges we are already facing - including rising food and energy prices, the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian crises and climate change, which are threatening the timely realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The right to food has come under pressure as global rates of hunger, especially among women and children, have risen, leading to record humanitarian needs. Violence and conflict remain the primary drivers of these trends, and bold action is needed to reverse them. Despite the difficult circumstances, the EU remains firmly committed to the SDGs and to effectively contributing to achieving these by 2030.

Mr President,

The EU is convinced that efforts to counter disinformation must be firmly grounded in the protection of human rights and the rule of law. As pointed out in the high-level panel discussion, the fight against disinformation should not serve as a pretext to restrict human rights or to justify censorship laws, State-sponsored Internet shutdowns or restrictions on independent media. On the contrary, promoting access to reliable information from free, independent, and pluralistic media remains key to counter disinformation.

Mr President,

Finally, as we mark the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which for the first time recognised the rights of human rights defenders,  the EU wishes to pay tribute to the crucial work and inspiring successes of human rights defenders working all over the world, in multiple fields. They carry out their work with persistence and solidarity, often despite threats and attacks. The EU remains steadfast in its commitment to support them.

Thank you.

[*] North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.