General debate on item 2: Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General

54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. Statement by Finland delivered by Chargé d'Affaires Anu Konttinen of the Permanent Mission of Finland, 12 September 2023.

Mr. President,

Finland aligns itself with the EU statement.  We thank the High Commissioner for his global update. Finland remains a staunch supporter of the UN Human Rights Office’s dedicated work to promote and protect human rights of all. The connection between human rights, sustainable development and peace is unquestionable.

This is a year of marking human rights achievements. Throughout its existence the UN has stood by the individual paving way for each and every one of us to live a life in freedom without fear of violence or harassment. 

Today, Finland would like to highlight the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. It has empowered people all over the world to claim their human rights and those of their fellow’s.  The Declaration, together with the awareness that the UN family stands by in action, has helped people to ensure positive change. Human rights compliant laws and policies have been established and persons arbitrarily detained released.

Important documentation of human rights violations and abuses for accountability processes is collected globally. We welcome the work of the Centre for Civil Liberties and others, who document violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the context of Russia’s unlawful aggression against Ukraine, which Finland firmly condemns.

Both human rights defenders and the UN Human Rights Office have provided evidence-based reporting on the human rights situation in China, including with respect to the situation of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. It is important that the Office’s recommendations are fully implemented.

Human rights are an inherent part of solving conflicts and peace negotiators are significant human rights defenders. Finland strongly supports the efforts of the UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg to facilitate a sustainable peace agreement in Yemen. This conflict can only be ended and the dire humanitarian situation addressed through a negotiated, inclusive, Yemeni-led and owned political process under UN auspices and with regional support. It is crucial that Yemeni women play an active role in the negotiations.

Thank you.