The UK’s Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, delivered this statement during the Item 2 General Debate. Published 26 February 2021From:Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and Julian BraithwaiteDelivered on:26 February 2021 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Thank you Madam President.
We welcome the High Commissioner’s report.
In response to the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, on 1 February we announced sanctions against four security sector chiefs responsible for serious human rights violations under President Mnangagwa. The Government must respect the rights enshrined in the Zimbabwean Constitution.
The UK continues to be concerned about the protection of civilians in Cameroon, particularly following the appalling killing of children in Kumba, in October 2020, and a series of violent incidents in January 2021. The violence must end. Urgent and impartial investigations must hold the perpetrators to account. In Uganda, we are concerned about the reported treatment of opposition candidates, their supporters, and the media around the 14 January Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The Government of Uganda must meet its international human rights obligations.
In Nigeria, we welcome the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, following 2020’s EndSARS protests against police brutality. We are monitoring closely the judicial panels of inquiry established to investigate allegations of police brutality and human rights violations. The Nigerian authorities should ensure accountability for those responsible.
In Vietnam, we are concerned about the treatment and imprisonment of journalists and human rights defenders. A free media is essential to a functioning society. We also encourage Vietnam to share the progress it has made towards implementing the recommendations made during its latest Universal Periodic Review.
Recent violence and an increase in targeted attacks on civilians in Afghanistan, including on those who defend human rights and media freedom, are deeply concerning. We call for thorough and transparent investigations into attacks, and for all perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Finally, we refer to our statements on Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Burundi and Venezuela that have been made, or will be made, at other dialogues during this session. Thank you.