ADDRESS BY H.E. NACİ KORU AT 28th SESSION OF UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Distinguished representatives of the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to address this august body.
Today’s session of the Human Rights Council is convened in the wake of worldwide calamities. The tragedy in Syria, the unspeakable atrocities committed by DEASH and Boko Haram; terrorist attacks against “Charlie Hebdo” are hurting the conscience of humanity. On the other hand, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia loom over the lives of migrant individuals, particularly in western societies in an unprecedented nature.
As we continue the backbone session of the Human Rights Council today, I would like to reflect upon the historic responsibility that we bear; in furthering and upholding the human rights values and norms. Both the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have become essential and indivisible components of the struggle for human rights.
Regardless of our political divergences, we should thrive on unity; keeping our main goal in mind. That is, protecting and promoting human rights and addressing the outstanding humanitarian issues we face in different regions of the world.
Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Palestine are few examples of the festering crises in our current agenda.
Ukraine is an issue that requires continuous attention. We appreciate the efforts of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the situation in Ukraine. In particular, the UN Human Rights Mission in Ukraine provides an additional mechanism to monitor and document the human rights situation, as well as emerging risks.
Regular reports by the Mission constitute a useful tool to keep track of various violations of human rights. We encourage the High Commissioner to continue his practice of timely and swiftly responding to recurring acts of human rights violations, through various channels.
Turkey remains deeply concerned by the extent of human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which we consider an inalienable part of Ukraine. The rights of minority groups in Crimea, particularly of the Crimean Tatars are at stake. There is no doubt that these violations, thoroughly presented in the regular reports of the UN Mission, stem directly from the illegitimate and illegal de facto situation in the Peninsula.
Turkey has become a “safe harbor” for 2 million people fleeing from violent conflicts. In conformity with its international obligations, my country has pursued an open door policy for all Syrians and Iraqis who fled their countries in the past 4 years. Turkey has mobilized all its resources and capabilities to provide for the needs of these people, on behalf of the international community.
The conflict in Syria has entered its fifth year. The situation constitutes a threat to the entire region’s peace and stability. Turkey’s stance towards this humanitarian issue and its solid contribution to the efforts in extending a helping hand to the Syrian people are well known.
International community should also honor its obligations in terms of burden and responsibility sharing under international humanitarian law. Much more needs to be done, especially to alleviate the ever increasing burden on Syria’s neighboring countries.
Turkey hopes that a political solution in Syria can be found as soon as possible. We support the efforts of Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura. We are all unified in our belief that the political settlement is the only way for a viable solution. A genuine political transformation based on the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué must remain the key priority. Stability in Syria can only be reinstated by a new government to be formed in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people.
Iraq is facing various challenges threatening its peace, harmony and stability. DEASH is the first and foremost among these challenges.
It is a terrorist organization committing all sort of crimes against humanity. However, while prioritizing DEASH, we should not overlook the atrocities and brutal practices by extra-legal militias which have become additional sources of instability and sectarian conflict.
To achieve sustainable peace and stability, political efforts must be intensified with a view to establishing a democratic system based on a functioning federalism, the rule of law, diversity and inclusivity.
Palestine continues to be on top of our agenda, since the unsustainability of the status-quo in Palestine is strikingly clear.Persistent violations of international law lie at the heart of the abysmal human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Any improvement of the human rights situation requires first and foremost the ending of Israeli occupation. Turkey supports the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine, which provides an independent monitoring on the impact of the continuing occupation.
Among the continuing challenges to the fundamental human rights and freedoms,
racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia stand out as important concerns. With the rising, worrisome trend of Islamophobia, these concerns have evolved into serious, concrete threats to global peace, social harmony and the very foundations of our civilization. We condemn all kinds of incitement to hatred and religious discrimination against Muslims as well as people of other faiths.
Today, our common struggle against racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and Islamophobia is more relevant than ever. Members of religious or ethnic groups are increasingly subjected to hostile acts. There is also a tendency to stigmatize people on the basis of race, color, descent and national or ethnic origin, and to use racist propaganda in politics. Therefore, especially in the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, it is all the more important to prevent further initiatives aiming at dividing our societies on the lines of race, ethnicity and belief.
We need to work together in solidarity to strengthen a culture of peace. Our guiding principles were laid down by this very Council in March 2011, with the historic and consensually adopted Resolution 16/18 on combating intolerance based on religion, which we are proud to have taken a leading part in the efforts for bringing it about.
The İstanbul Process, initiated to ensure the effective implementation of Resolution 16/18, will continue to harness the engagement of all concerned to fight scourges stemming from religious intolerance. It helps all stakeholders to develop a common understanding on difficult issues. Therefore, we should maintain the momentum on this valuable work.
Allow me now to proceed to the Alliance of Civilizations, which was initiated by Turkey and Spain. This initiative encourages greater cross-cultural understanding and fosters an atmosphere of mutual respect.
The deepening humanitarian crises I have referred to, require ceaseless and robust actions.The full achievement of peace and stability in the world is closely related to expanding the practices based on respect for human rights as well as developing the means and capabilities that can effectively address human rights violations and humanitarian crises in various geographies. Today, no policy or practice ignoring the people’s rights to freedom, equality and a life in dignity is acceptable. International community should use its entire available means for the common prosperity and happiness of mankind.
The Council, so far, has been agile in responding to many crises and arising needs. However, it is important to bear in mind that the success of the Council should not lead to an unbearable workload. With this understanding, Turkey has been actively taking part in the initiative related to the streamlining and facilitating the working methods of the Human Rights Council.
What we need is leaving aside our political divergences and uniting for the ultimate goal of protecting and promoting human rights by addressing all humanitarian issues all over the world. The name of the hall where the Council sits is indeed very symbolic: The “Alliance of Civilizations”. This should be the illustrative and significant testament of the cause we serve under this august body.
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