UN High Commissioner Raises Concerns over Manipur Violence and Global Human Rights Issues

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Photo: United Nations

Geneva: May 24: In his opening remarks at a press conference held at the UN in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, highlighted various global human rights issues, including the recent violence in Manipur, Northeast India. The High Commissioner expressed deep concern over the escalating tensions between different ethnic and indigenous groups in Manipur and called on the authorities to swiftly respond to the situation.

Volker Türk emphasized the importance of investigating and addressing the root causes of the violence in line with international human rights obligations. The UN High Commissioner’s remarks underscored the need for accountability and a comprehensive approach to resolving the underlying tensions in Manipur.

“I urge the authorities to respond to the situation quickly, including by investigating and addressing root causes of the violence in line with their international human rights obligations,” said Volker Türk.

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While addressing the broader global human rights landscape, Türk touched upon several critical issues. He condemned the long-standing human rights violations in Myanmar, particularly the mistreatment of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups. Türk called on the authorities to lift blockages, facilitate humanitarian aid, and investigate the systemic denial of human rights that has led to the devastating impact witnessed during natural disasters such as Cyclone Mocha.

The UN High Commissioner also expressed deep concern over the situation in Sudan, where civilians continue to be exposed to the risk of death and injury. He called for firm and prompt action by the authorities to ensure justice in each case and urged General al-Burhan and General Dagalo to issue clear instructions to prevent sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable.

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Addressing the rise of anti-rights movements globally, Türk emphasized the need to push back against hatred and division targeting migrants, refugees, women, religious and racial groups, and the LGBTIQ community. He called for strategies to prevent and counter racism in sports events, pointing to the recent racial abuse faced by Real Madrid football player Vinícius Júnior in Spain.

The UN High Commissioner also expressed concern about the shrinking civic space, including the crackdown on human rights defenders in China and the erosion of women’s rights worldwide. Additionally, he highlighted the plight of Afghan women and girls under the Taliban’s gender apartheid system and called for immediate policy changes to protect their rights and ensure the country’s development potential.

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Volker Türk further raised concerns about the harassment of women in Iran, the escalating violence and mass arrests in Pakistan, and the potential revival of military courts in the country. He stressed the need for prompt, impartial, and transparent investigations into deaths and injuries during protests, emphasizing that respect for human rights, democratic processes, and the rule of law is crucial for a safe and prosperous Pakistan.

While addressing advancements in artificial intelligence, Türk highlighted the importance of integrating human rights principles into AI development, urging governments and companies to ensure the presence of adequate guardrails.

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Furthermore, the UN High Commissioner called for support in countering disinformation, protecting the space for defending human rights, and unifying against the politicization of human rights both within and between countries.

The remarks made by the UN High Commissioner shed light on the critical situation in Manipur, underscoring the need for urgent action to address the underlying tensions and ensure the protection of human rights. The Commissioner’s broader concerns regarding global human rights violations emphasize the need for concerted efforts to promote and protect human rights worldwide.

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