MEPs visit the UN Human Rights Council

MEPs visit the UN Human Rights Council


With officials in Geneva Subcommittee on Human Rights’ MEPs discussed the protection and promotion of human rights worldwide.

The European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights visited the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 26-28 April 2023.

This official visit took place in the run-up to the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration, which established the office of High Commissioner on human rights (OHCHR).

MEPs used the opportunity for talks with various high-level stakeholders involved in the protection and promotion of human rights worldwide, addressing consistently the universality and indivisibility of human rights as well as the battle of narratives.

On the agenda: Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sudan

The delegation met with Volker Türk, the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Marc Bichler, Vice-President of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

During their mission, MEPs also talked to the UN officials in charge of Syria and Iran and discussed trends and challenges within the human rights system, particularly in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

Furthermore, Members met with a number of NGOs involved in assessing the work of the UN Human Rights Council and discussed the need for full access of civil society representatives and human rights defenders to this UN body. Main topics addressed by the MEPs at their numerous meetings in the UN Human Rights Council was situation in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Ethiopia and Sudan. With their partners in Geneva they also discussed how to deal with issues such as international crimes and accountability, international protection of civilians and children affected by armed conflicts.

Partnership with the Global South

The delegation stressed the importance for the EU to strengthen its partnership with the Global South in areas of common interest, including migration, climate change, digitalisation and health. It welcomed in particular the reinvigoration of the UN Human Rights Economy Initiative aiming at accelerating the realization of economic, social and cultural rights worldwide. in the context of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The delegation was chaired by the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Udo Bullmann (S&D, Germany), and also included MEPs Isabel Wiseler-Lima (EPP, Luxembourg), Nacho Sanchez Amor (S&D, Spain), Katalin Cseh (Renew Europe, Hungary).

The delegation Chair Udo Bullmann said: “As this year marks the 75th anniversary of the universal declaration of human rights, the world has unique opportunity to reconfirm its commitment that political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights are equally individual and collective. It is the best avenue to ensure that universality remains the foundation of a human rights driven global agenda for the future.”

The activities of the DROI delegation in Geneva will feed into the DROI High Level Conference celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to take place on 29 November 2023 in Brussels

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