Ræða Íslands á 32. reglubundnum fundi Mannréttaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna

Statement by Mr. Thordur Sigtryggsson


32nd session of the Human Rights Council

Item 4: General Debate

Geneva, 22 June 2016


Mr. President

The outrageous attacks in Orlando earlier this month on innocent bystanders simply living their lives without threat to anyone is the latest grotesque consequence of unchecked hate and discrimination. We deplore it in the strongest terms and express our deepest condolences and solidarity with the victims and their families.  

All human beings - regardless of race, color, sex, religion, gender identity or any other status - are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Yet this core principle of international human rights law continues to be violated and abused on a daily basis.

Ultimately, the responsibility to combat discrimination – to uphold and enforce people’s universal human rights - lies with States. We welcome recent steps taken by some States towards eradicating all forms of discrimination. Yet we are alarmed by state policies that continue to systematically discriminate against vulnerable groups and urge immediate action by relevant States to redress the situation. 

Mr. President

In Saudi Arabia, a member of this Council, women and girls continue to face systematic discrimination in law and practice. We strongly urge the Government to accelerate reform efforts to ensure their effective participation in elections and to abolish the male guardianship system. We also express deep concern on the situation of women human rights defenders, including Samar Badawi, who are routinely banned from travelling, harassed and arbitrarily detained by Saudi authorities. These women are a source of strength and stability, not a threat!

Human rights abuses against the LGBTI community, pervasive in all regions of the world, continue to be tragically reinforced by discriminatory legislation and practices condoned by States. We urge all 76 UN Member States that still retain laws used to criminalize, stigmatize and harass people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity to abolish them without delay.

Finally, in Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslim minority continues to face statelessness and systematic discrimination. We strongly urge the new Government of Myanmar to address the situation in accordance with its international obligations and we look forward to the High Commissioner’s report on this issue next week.

Thank you.

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