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Minister Fajon at the high-level segment of the 55th session of the UNHRC

The 55th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) opened in Geneva and will run until 5 April 2024. Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon participated in the high-level segment of the session with a video message, presenting Slovenia's views on the current situation of human rights around the world and the session’s priority themes.

In her address in the context of the recent 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the cornerstone of the international human rights regime, Minister Tanja Fajon also pointed out that "when it comes to human rights, the work is never really done". She recalled the human suffering caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the Gaza conflict, as well as a number of other armed conflicts around the world. In its efforts within the UN Security Council, Slovenia pays special attention to these situations and to grave and systematic violations of human rights. The Minister underlined the importance of accountability for atrocities and serious human rights violations and encouraged countries to join the more than thirty states that signed the Ljubljana-The Hague Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition on 14 February 2024.

The Minister also expressed support for the work of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office, recalling that the Human Rights Council has a number of mechanisms at its disposal to respond to human rights challenges. A strong civil society and building the resilience of societies are key to addressing growing inequalities, human rights violations and abuses.

Minister Fajon highlighted new technologies, artificial intelligence, climate change, pandemics and rapid demographic change as global challenges that pose risks to human rights. She concluded her speech by calling for human rights to be enshrined in the outcome document of the UN Summit of the Future in September 2024, and recalled Slovenia's candidature to the Human Rights Council for the 2026–2028 term.

At this year's session of the Human Rights Council, Slovenia will again focus on issues that are among the priorities of its foreign policy in the field of human rights. Together with Costa Rica, the Maldives, Morocco and Switzerland, it will table a resolution on the environment and human rights, linked to the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Slovenia will also co-sponsor with Austria and Mexico a resolution on the rights of persons belonging to minorities. As in previous years, a representative of Slovenian children will participate in the debate on the rights of the child. Slovenia will also enhance its contribution to some thematic areas by co-organising events on the equal representation of women in the multilateral system, on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and a discussion with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children on the margins of the session.

In addition to panel discussions, the 55th session of the HRC will also consider reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar, Venezuela, Haiti, Belarus, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as reports of special procedures on Afghanistan, South Sudan, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Ukraine, Eritrea, Colombia, Venezuela, Mali, Nicaragua, and the Central African Republic. Part of the session will be devoted to thematic discussions on the environment, minorities, persons with disabilities, the right to privacy, freedom of religion, human rights defenders, children in armed conflict, violence against children, etc.