Published on: 28 February 2017

Statement of Minister Bushati at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council Geneva

Mr. President,

Secretary General,

High Commissioner,

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Let me first congratulate you for your crucial contribution in protecting and promoting human rights around the world.

My country, as a member of HRC, feels privileged to have contributed actively in the deliberations and the resolutions of this important body, over the last three years, in an effort to help shape the global action by exposing and addressing human right violations everywhere in the world.

Albania will continue to work closely with the Council and its related instruments and mechanisms; we will remain fully involved in human right issues and will continue our strong support for the independence and integrity of the mandate of the High Commissioner on Human Rights. We believe in special procedures human rights mechanisms as we have believed in UPR (Universal Periodic Review), since the very first day of their establishment, convinced that they benefit the situation on the ground.

Protecting human rights has always been an uphill struggle. But time has proved us that the respect for human rights and their universality, justice, education and equality – are strong interlocking elements that will continue to build fair and resilient societies, sustainable peace and development.

 

Mr. President,

Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the pioneers of the Universal Declaration of HR, used to say to UN delegates that “the real challenge is to actually live and work in our countries for freedom and justice for each human being”.  

Despite continued global progress, we have nonetheless witnessed that over these last years, the situation of human rights in many parts of the world has deteriorated and, in some cases, it is simply alarming. The proof is all around us, from the ongoing sectarian violence in Syria, the continued conflict in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and the terrorist activity of ISIS and other third actors.

The fear of getting tortured or killed in these conflict zones has driven millions of refugees away from their homes. Last year, we witnessed the highest figure of people displaced by war and repression, since WWII. Many of them, desperate to flee war and persecution, often arrive in Europe’s shores through smuggler channels, finding themselves exposed to further violations of their basic rights.

On the other hand, an increasing populist and polarizing rhetoric about refugees and religion-based differences has become central to political debate. Flagrant Islamophobia has become the vehicle of assertive politics of intolerance by a growing number of political groups.

Erecting obstacles and implementing restrictions, contrary to the United Nation principles, it is the opposite of what is needed to strengthen the respect of human rights.

My country is also concerned about the deterioration of the human rights situation in countries like South Sudan, Burundi, DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Myanmar and the eastern part of Ukraine. This worrying situation and alarming prospect demand the continued Human Rights Council’s attention and appropriate action. All those responsible for violations and human rights abuses must be held accountable. We have been and will remain committed to work with other HRC partners to bring to the immediate attention of the Council the situation of human rights in conflict areas and work actively to address them appropriately.

Within this framework, during the 34th session of Human Rights Council, Albania, as part of the Core Group will propose a resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the Commission of human rights in South Sudan and asks for the support of all countries.

 

Mr. President,

Violent extremism and terrorism have a severe impact on a range of fundamental human rights, and states have the primary duty to take effective counter-terrorism measures. In this regard, Albania reaffirms its commitment to lead and be part of initiatives of HRC, aiming at preventing and countering violent extremism.

The human rights abuses, the detachment between prospects and expectations, and the public discourse filled with messages of hatred and discrimination, threaten to push alienated communities into the arms of extremist groups.

In such a challenging context, countering radicalization and extremism, especially among young people needs constant work and tailor-made programmes. Law enforcement and security measures will do their part, but will never be enough.  A wiser and safer counter-terrorism policy is the one that respects human rights.

My country has taken an increased focus on preventing and countering the terrorist threat. Based on our model of religious harmony and our excellent cooperation with religious leaders, Albania has developed a National Strategy on Countering Violent Extremism, with a broad approach focusing not only on hard measures but also on soft measures, such as education, in order to prevent radicalization of marginalized group, with a focus on youth.

A socio-economic comprehensive approach in empowering youth, women, local and religious leaders as well as civil society remains crucial in preventing and countering violent extremism.

On August 2016, Albania has appointed a National Coordinator on Countering Violent Extremism, which is expected to be upgraded into a regional hub in the near future. As the threat of violent extremism knows no boundaries, this hub aims to strengthen the regional cohesion and efforts, by identifying innovative, effective, and comprehensive approaches to prevent the radicalization of our societies.

 

Mr. President,

The commitment we have made with regards to human rights and the protection of minorities are at the very core of the Human Rights Council. Their violations have often led to disputes and conflicts; in turn, the respect of minority rights has built bridges of communication within and between neighboring countries.

Albania has always attached special attention to the protection and respect of the rights of minorities. We are now working to prepare and adopt a new, updated framework law on minorities, in conformity with the European Framework Convention on National Minorities and the best international standards.

We must increase our common efforts to respect women’s rights, empower them in every respect and fight against discrimination based on gender. We must, in particular, do all what is needed to curb domestic violence. In this context, we support the initiative taken by some countries of the Human Right Council “Call for Action to Reduce the Cost of Violence against Woman”.

We will continue our efforts to strengthen gender equality, and increase women’s representation. The law “On Gender Equality in Society” and the Electoral Code, with provisions for respecting gender quotas, are important steps to respect gender balance and empower women’s position in society.

The participation of women in all spheres of life remains crucial not only to the sustainable socio-economic development, but also to ensuring peace and stability worldwide. Developing a gendered approach is also critical to the preventive and countering measure of violent extremism.

We know that building sustainable societies requires the participation of all individuals, groups and communities, regardless of their origin, religious beliefs, political views or sexual orientation. Albania’s determination to work and succeed in this regard is unwavering.

 

Thank you!

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