Geneva, 23 March 2023 (TDI): Ambassador Tine Morch, Permanent Representative of Norway delivered a statement at Human Rights Council 52 session.

The official statement condemned the repression of human rights in Ukraine and across the world. Norway condemns Russian aggression and use of force against Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty.

The war has caused massive destruction and suffering in Ukraine. The surge in the deportation of Ukrainian children is alarming.

The global consequences of the war are far-reaching. The Norwegian Ambassador touched upon the much-needed discussion of dwindling space for a free and vibrant civil society.

Freedom of speech and public demonstration of dissent is increasingly becoming obsolete. With the tightening of civic spaces, there is always a looming threat of minorities being targeted and pushed to the wall.

According to Civicus monitor, regrettably, about 85% of the world’s population resides in countries rated as oppressed, closed, and with obstructed civic spaces.

Russia and Belarus represent such societies with negligible freedom. Both countries repress their civil societies and misuse the justice system to silence criticism.

The Ambassador also quoted the Taliban’s regressive policies in Afghanistan. There is a sustained violation of human rights in the country. The coercive policies against women and girls are clearly anti-democratic and inhumane.

The human rights violations must come to end. The statement also highlighted the grave situation of human rights in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.

There is a blatant restriction of civic space in both countries. The Ambassador called for the safeguarding of the right to a fair trial in National Security Law trials.

Also read: Nordic-Baltic countries call for decisive action on Russia’s war crimes

In the same pretext, the Norwegian Ambassador urged Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Burundi to uphold their commitments to fulfill their citizen’s rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

In closing remarks, Norway emphasized the need for freedom of expression and free journalistic activities in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

The Ambassador urged the countries to release all persons imprisoned because of dissenting views. Norway called for the fair treatment of all citizens across the world based on freedom of speech, assembly, and the right to fair trials.