EU:s anförande vid FN:s specialsession inom rådet för mänskliga rättigheter om situationen i Libanon

Ambassadör Vesa Himanens EU-anförande vid FN:s specialsession om situationen i Libanon inom rådet för mänskliga rättigheter i Genève den 11 augusti 2006

UN Human Rights Council, Special Session on Lebanon, 11 August 2006

Statement by H.E. Mr. Vesa Himanen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Finland, on behalf of the European Union

Mr. President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding States Bulgaria and Romania as well as Ukraine align themselves with this statement

The European Union emphasizes the respect for the human rights of all individuals. The respect for human rights constitutes an essential basis for a durable democracy, and is a key element in preventing conflicts and consolidating peaceful co-existence among peoples.

According to its mandate contained in the GA resolution 60/251, the Human Rights Council is responsible for promoting universal respect of all human rights for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner. The mandate thus implies the need to address the responsibilities of all relevant actors in an equal and even-handed way.

The European Union wishes to express its utmost concern at the Lebanese and Israeli civilian casualties and human suffering, the widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure, and the increased number of displaced persons following the escalation of hostilities.

The European Union condemns the rocket attacks by Hezbollah on Israel. The European Union condemns the death of innocent civilians, mostly women and children, in an Israeli air strike on the Lebanese village of Qana.

The European Union reminds all parties that according to International Humanitarian Law, those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their lives and their moral and physical integrity. The European Union deplores the loss of civilian life. All parties must do everything possible to protect civilian populations and must refrain from disproportionate actions and other actions in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. The European Union also reiterates that all attacks against UN personnel are unacceptable and deplores the tragic deaths of four UN military observers.     

The EU calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities to be followed by a sustainable cease-fire.

In this context, the European Union fully supports the efforts of the UN Secretary General and the Security Council to define a political framework for a lasting solution agreed by all parties.

Mr. President,

The Security Council is currently seized of the situation in Lebanon, The UN Secretary General has recently sent a letter to the Security Council related to especially the tragic events in Qana, and also the International Committee of the Red Cross has issued a statement on events on the ground. A coordinated approach of different efforts guarantees that the best outcome can be achieved on the ground.

The European Union reiterates its determination to work with the wider international community to brig humanitarian relief to the people of Lebanon. The European Union calls on all parties to grant secure and efficient passage for the delivery of humanitarian assistance especially in southern Lebanon. So far the Community and European Union member states have committed some 57 million euros to the relief efforts, with another 40 million in pledges. The European Union stands ready to further contribute to Lebanon's revival and reconstruction. In this context the EU deplores the recent destruction of infrastructure rendering the distribution of humanitarian assistance more difficult. The European Union reminds of the obligations under International Humanitarian Law to grant access to humanitarian workers and relief items to reach the populations affected by the conflict.

The European Union is committed to promote a comprehensive peace plan for the Middle East in close cooperation with partners and the countries in the region. There is no military solution to any of the problems facing the people of the region.

Thank you, Mr. President.