Spindelegger: No easing of pressure on Syria
Syria again on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council
Vienna, 19 June 2012 – “We must not take the pressure off Syria”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said yesterday at the beginning of the June session of the UNO Human Rights Council in Geneva: “Austria supports the submission of a new resolution on the situation in Syria. It is above all the brutal abuse of children that must be condemned. Severe violations of human rights and crimes against humanity, such as the Houla massacre, will have to be fully investigated by an independent body and the perpetrators must be made accountable at the International Criminal Court. The inquiry commission of the Human Rights Council is doing the important groundwork in this matter.”
“While the scale of the continued human rights violations in Belarus is different, they still are equally alarming. Austria therefore advocates the appointment of a special rapporteur to investigate the human rights situation in the country and to make Lukashenko finally install the basic freedoms and allow the country partake of the European community of values”, Spindelegger continued. According to a report of the High Commission for Human Rights, the human rights situation in Belarus continued to deteriorate over the past year. There are repeated reports about torture in prisons, and prosecution of journalists and suppression of the freedom of opinion are the order of the day.
“This year, we are taking a further step in our long-standing initiative for the protection of internally displaced persons: Austria is planning to submit a resolution focusing on the situation of displaced persons who fight for their lives outside organised camps and on the need for education of children refugees”, Spindelegger concluded.
The June session of the Human Rights Council traditionally also deals with the rights of women. Austria is coordinating the EU Declaration in this matter and is going to be the facilitator of a discussion about political empowerment of women. The special rapporteur for cultural rights will report on her visit to Austria in April 2011. A supra-regional declaration and an event are planned on the topic of “protection of journalists”, another focal point of work of Austria. The event will be attended by the two special UN rapporteurs on freedom of opinion and extrajudicial executions, among others. These initiatives are intended to create awareness in the Human Rights Council and to prepare the ground for the resolution that Austria intends to submit to the Council in September.
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