18 September 2015
General debate under agenda Item:3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development - 13th Plenary Meeting 30th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council.
Full text of the statement:
Today, hundreds of refugees will arrive at European borders, dead or alive. The victims of the crisis that Europe faces now are the very same victims of the conflicts and occupations that countries across the Middle East and North Africa have faced for years.
The conflict in Syria alone has forced 11 million people from their homes. This is a result of the failure of international diplomatic efforts and the lack of political will to address and resolve the conflict in its early stages.
In the last year, we have witnessed the situation in Iraq go from bad to worse with sectarian militia violence, corruption and human rights violation becoming systemic. The situation however is not the product of internal factors alone but also the consequence of decades of hardship inflicted upon the Iraqi people in the form of sanctions, illegal invasion and occupation. And all this in a country where there is no special rapporteur for human rights nor due attention paid from the office of the high commissioner for human rights.
The camera lens of the international community has focussed recently on the tragic death of Aylan Kurdi. The fact that millions of others have also risked their lives and paid the heaviest price is indeed unfathomable.
However, if we do not readjust our focus to the grave violations that continue to plague the Iraqi and Syrian people whose homes, hospitals and schools have been destroyed, and for whom water, electricity and food have become luxuries then the human rights abuses which go on unacknowledged and unpunished in these countries will continue to send boys, girls and families onto the beaches of Europe.
The time has come for the international community to tackle the root causes of these crises.
30th Session of the Human Rights Council - Item 3 - Ms Eleanor McClelland
18 September 2015