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Jean Asselborn lays out the key priorities of Luxembourg’s candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term

Published Tuesday April 13 2021

I am Jean Asselborn and I would like to talk to you today about my country’s candidacy to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2022-2024 term.

The pandemic crisis is straining our health systems. It accentuates inequalities, both within our societies and between different regions of the world. Climate change threatens the very existence of humanity. Alongside these new perils, old problems remain: war, discrimination of all kinds, poverty, attacks on freedom ...

These challenges require effective responses, but no solution can be sustainable if human rights are not respected.

Human rights are at the heart of our commitment, because our democratic societies – and the political institutions on which they are based – exist in order to allow each individual to prosper and reach his or her full potential while respecting their fellow citizens and their environment.

This is the reason why Luxembourg has chosen, as the first of its four priorities for the Human Rights Council, to support the rule of law, civic space and human rights defenders. This commitment goes hand in hand with the fight against impunity. Luxembourg is committed to supporting the active and meaningful participation of civil society and human rights defenders in the work of the Human Rights Council.

The consequences of climate change affect millions of people, threatening their right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment. They jeopardize their food security and their right to drinking water. This is why our second priority is sustainable development and climate action based on human rights

For many years now, Luxembourg has been investing 1% of its gross national income in official development assistance. Luxembourg is also committed to increasing the resources dedicated to the fight against climate change.

Human rights cannot be the privilege of a few. This is why our third priority concerns gender equality and the fight against all forms of discrimination. We are resolutely committed to the rights and empowerment of women and girls, their socio-economic integration, the realization of their right to education, their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Luxembourg is a reliable partner of UN Women. We also act to promote the rights of LGBTI persons, both at the national and at the international level, as a member of the Equal Rights Coalition.

Our fourth priority is children’s rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has once again shown how important it is to listen to children’s voices and consider their needs. As co-chair of the Group of Friends of Children and the Sustainable Development Goals with Bulgaria and Jamaica, and in close cooperation with UNICEF, Luxembourg has played a leading role in the adoption of the joint statement “Protect our children”.

Conflicts affect children the most. I saw this when my country chaired the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict during its mandate on the Security Council in 2013-2014. Since 2013, Luxembourg has supported the “No Lost Generation” initiative launched by UNICEF in order to provide education to children in Syria and to refugee children in the region.

My country also continues to show solidarity by welcoming families and unaccompanied children from refugee camps.

If presented with the honour of being elected, for the first time in its history, to the Human Rights Council, Luxembourg will make an active and useful contribution to the work of the Council. My country is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of all human beings, within the framework of an effective multilateralism. We believe in multilateralism, which has always been the cornerstone of our foreign policy.

I am personally and wholeheartedly committed to keeping this pledge.

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