For the third time, Belgium has been elected for a mandate at the United Nations Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva for the period 2023-2025, announced the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Tuesday.
The result of the vote of the UN General Assembly, which took place on Tuesday afternoon in New York, is a further indication of the international confidence in the expertise and experience of Belgian diplomacy at the UN and elsewhere, the Foreign Ministry stated in a press release.
"Every day, we see images of people taking to the streets and demanding that their fundamental rights be guaranteed. We hear these people and we support their legitimate demand. This encourages us to work towards an effective and responsive Human Rights Council," said Foreign Affairs Minister Hadja Lahbib.
"More than ever, we must make it clear that human rights are not a favour granted by states," she added. "They are an obligation for all, always. To the most vulnerable, to those who are critical and to those who look different."
During its three-year term in Geneva, Belgium will continue to promote all human rights: civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights, in their indivisibility and interdependence. It aims to strengthen the positive interaction between the three interlinked and mutually reinforcing pillars of the UN Charter: peace and security, development and human rights.
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Belgium will work on the rule of law and on priority issues such as strengthening the principle of accountability for the most serious crimes. For many years, Belgium has also been working towards the abolition of the death penalty and considers it an important issue to keep on the agenda of the Human Rights Council.
"We also attach great importance to the promotion of civic space and the protection of human rights defenders, as there can be no realisation of rights without space to defend them," the Foreign Affairs Ministry stated, adding that a particular priority is also to strengthen gender equality and to fight against discrimination with a special focus on women and girls.
Finally, Belgium traditionally aims at joint action by the EU Member States and will continue to encourage and support the implementation of a European human rights diplomacy.