General Debate under item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.

Item 3 General Debate at the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Council, 20 September 2022. Statement by Finland Delivered by Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi, Permanent Representative of Finland.

Mr. President,

Transitional justice processes lay the foundation for peace and coming to terms with the past after violent conflict or oppressive rule. They should be gender-transformative and victim-centered, and look into how the conflict is financed. Beyond individual criminal responsibility, shedding light on the broader organizational and institutional responsibility for atrocities is crucial. In this statement, we focus on non-state actors.

Firstly, since non-state armed groups are involved in the majority of armed conflicts, it is essential that they can be held accountable for serious human rights abuses and they can be expected to observe human rights standards in territories under their control. Non-state actors are also obliged to prevent abuses of women’s rights and support the participation of women in peace processes.

Secondly, corporations can play a significant role in violent conflicts or oppressive rule. It is important to pursue accountability for gross human rights abuses they might have committed. Corporations need to be incentivized better to engage in transitional justice processes and providing reparations.

We share the view of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence that non-State actors should contribute to reparations programmes and truth seeking efforts. The process should bring justice to all victims, both symbolically and in concrete reparations.

Lastly, we highlight that States have the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights of all. Governments need to make sure proactively that human rights are upheld and fulfilled. Accountability for a state’s own violations is crucial in securing successful transitional justice processes.

Thank you.