PRESS-RELEASE / COMMUNIQUE POUR LES MEDIAS

 

N 14 - 04.03.2014

 

 

High-Level Segment - 1st Meeting, 25th Regular Session Human Rights Council
(3rd March 2014)

 

 

ADDRESS BY MR. SERGEY V. LAVROV, MINISTER FOR FOREIGN
AFFAIRS OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION

 

Direct link to video:http://webtv.un.org/search/russian-federation-high-level-segment-1st-meeting-25th-regularsession-human-rights-council/3282328996001?term=Lavrov 

 

Mr. Chairman,

Last year Russia was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council again. We thank everybody who voted for us, for their support. We view this as a recognition of the constructive approach of our country to multilateral cooperation.

Human rights issues are one of the priorities of the international agenda, in conditions when factors of instability do not weaken, and the area of risks and conflicts in different regions is extending. These processes are significantly related to the continuing formation of a new polycentric world order. Russia consistently proceeds from the fact that in this period of deep change we need to do everything possible to enforce the rights and liberties of individuals, respect for human dignity in practice.

The issue of human rights is too serious to make it a “token” in geopolitical “games”, to use them to impose one’s own will upon others and all the more so to enforce regime change operations. All the available experience is evidence that any interference under the pretext of the protection of civilians, which in fact leads to a regime change, gives directly contrary results, and multiplies the sufferings of peaceful civilians depriving them of their fundamental right – the right to live.

Any domestic crises should be overcome through a dialogue between all the political forces, ethnic and sectarian groups, according to the constitution and with respect for international obligations, including, not least, obligations under international humanitarian law, the defence of human rights and the rights of national minorities. In doing this, it is of principled importance to edge away from extremists attempting to take hold of the situation by illegal methods, by not shunning violence and open terror.

These approaches to the settlement of conflicts are applicable to Syria, Ukraine and any other country.

We all know well who created the crisis in Ukraine and how they did it. Having disputed absolutely legitimate actions by legal powers, some of our partners took the course of supporting anti-government manifestations, and stimulated their participants, who started aggressive forceful actions. There were occupations and arsons of administrative buildings, attacks on police, plundering of weapon stockpiles, outrages against official persons in the regions, gross inference inchurch affairs. The centre of Kiev and many other west Ukrainian cities were occupied by armed national radicals, who used extremist, anti-Russian and antiSemitic slogans.

On the 21 February (after almost three months of riots and outrages) an agreement was reached between the President of Ukraine and the opposition, which was also signed by the German, Polish and French foreign ministers. The authorities refused to introduce a state of emergency, or to remove law enforcement personnel from the streets. The opposition has done nothing. They have not laid down arms, public buildings and the streets of Kiev were not freed, radicals continue to control cities. The formation of a “government of champions” was announced,rather than the promised creation of a national unity government.

The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada took decisions restricting the rights of language minorities, dismissed judges of the Constitutional Court and insisted on criminal proceedings against them. We hear requests to restrict or punish the use of Russian, prohibit unwanted political parties, organise lustration. It means that the “champions” intend to use the results of their “victory” to violate fundamental human rights and liberties.

Eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, where millions of Russians live, were outraged by this, because they do not want this scenario to be repeated in their regions. In conditions of threats of violent action on behalf of ultranationalists, who endanger the life and legal interests of Russians and the entire Russian-speaking population, self-defense units were created by the people, who had to prevent the attempts at forced occupation of administrative buildings in Crimea and the entry of weapons and ammunition into the peninsula. There is information that new provocations are being prepared, including against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the territory of Ukraine.

In these conditions, the legally elected authorities of this Autonomous Republic turned to the President of Russia asking for assistance in pacification of the situation in Crimea.

In full compliance with Russian law, in view of the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, the threat to the lives of Russian nationals, our compatriots and staff of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine, the President of Russia addressed the Federation Council to allow the use of Russian Armed Forces in the territory of Ukraine until the social and political situation in the country normalises.

The Federation Council upheld such address, which (as we hope) will sober the radicals. I repeat, it is all about the protection of our nationals and compatriots, defense of the most fundamental human right – the right to live.

All those, who attempt to interpret this situation as aggression, and threaten all kinds of sanctions and boycotts, are the very same partners of ours, who consistently and insistently encouraged the political forces they favor, to enforce ultimatums and refusals of any dialogue, ignoring the concerns of south and east Ukraine and ultimately – the polarization of the Ukrainian community. We appeal to them to demonstrate a responsible approach, to put aside any geopolitical considerations and place the interests of the Ukrainian people above all other interests. We need to ensure the implementation of the obligations laid down in the Agreement of the 21 February, including the start of the constitutional reform process with the participation and full consideration of the opinions of all the Ukrainian regions to be further approved at a nationwide referendum.

Real progress in the area of human rights may be achieved only on the basis of equal cooperation, respectful dialogue, and reinforcement of trust between states. These guarantors of legality in their own territory bear the main responsibility for the enforcement of human rights.

For joint efforts to promote and defend human rights to be effective, they should be implemented in strict compliance with generally recognized norms and principles of international law, primarily the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, other fundamental documents adopted in the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

At the same time, no country or group of countries have exclusive authority to unilaterally create a new “code of conduct”, which is not based on a universal framework. The imposing of personal interpretations of human rights standards can only aggravate intercultural and intersectarian disagreements, risk provoking a conflict between civilisations and disrupt the efforts to create a sustainable system of global development.

Supporters of ultraliberal approaches, supporting all-permissiveness and hedonism, requesting a revision of moral values, which are shared by all the world religions, have drastically and sometimes quite aggressively been activated in some states recently. Such actions are destructive for the community, they are detrimental to the education of the growing generation. Children must be protected from such information, which is harmful to their minds and humiliates their dignity. In this regard, I would like to call to mind that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights envisages the possibility of restricting rights and liberties by law, in the interests of defending the health and morals of the population, civil security and order.

In our consistent support of consideration of the cultural and historical peculiarities of different people, we note the importance of the Human Rights Council resolution confirming that deeper understanding and respect of traditional values promotes the stimulation and protection of fundamental human rights and liberties.

We believe that it is important to ensure attention is focused on all categories of rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural, as well as the right to develop – in the further work of the Council.

We deem it important to reinforce and develop the legal framework in the area of human rights. For this purpose, we will present a draft resolution of the Council “Integral nature of the judicial system” for review by this session and we expect it to be supported.

The drastic development of information and communication technologies requires focused attention on the consequences of almost unlimited access to information and the exchange of it. The recently disclosed facts set serious tasks, in particular the proportionality of the tasks to ensure security in the scope of involvement in private life and the degree of state control over mass media.

The topic of human rights on the Internet should be viewed not only in the context of the freedom of speech, but also from the point of view of observation of other rights, including the inviolability of private life and the right to intellectual property. We believe that the adoption of UN General Assembly resolution 68/167 “The right to privacy in the digital age” will give a start to the practical work aimed at coordination of a clear code of conduct in this area.

This year the international community will celebrate 75 years since the beginning of the Second

World War, but next year – 70 years since our Victory over Nazism and the establishment of the Nuremberg Tribunal. These dates are a reminder of the dangerous consequences, to which a belief in personal exclusiveness, disregard of fundamental moral norms and rights, can lead.

We need to counteract the attempts to justify and glorify Nazis and their accomplices, to besmear monuments to the liberators of Europe from fascism, firmly and jointly. The support shown by the overwhelming majority of UN members for the UN General Assembly resolution 68/150 “Combating the glorification of Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, confirms the worldwide unacceptability of any misanthropic ideology.

A week ago in Sochi, the international community opposed these shameful phenomena with their commitment to the high principles of the Olympic Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sportsmen from 88 countries gave a celebration to the world, which demonstrated openness towards each other, an atmosphere of friendship, trust, tolerance, and contributed to reinforcing humanitarian ties.

The human rights concept contains a strong uniting potential. Dignity, freedom, fairness, equality, and tolerance towards others, are envisaged to reinforce mutual understanding and cooperation between countries and peoples, in the interests of ensuring the sustainable development and welfare of the entire human race. 

 

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