The UN Human Rights Council today concluded its debate with its experts on Adequate Housing and on Minorities, and opened general debate on agenda item 3, entitled “Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including the Right to Development.”

Slovenia on behalf of the EU expressed deep concerns over Zimbabwe, regarding the situation of human rights defenders, torture and violations of freedom of expression.

Zimbabwe’s representative said the EU’s statement was characterized by “racism, double standards and selectivity.” She added that “human rights defenders [were] not superhuman” and that they should respect the law.

EU member States were trying to “violate the sovereignty of the people of Zimbabwe in trying to impose a puppet government that would carry out their neo-colonialist interests.”

“Whenever the EU speaks, it is not so difficult to see the ugly face of Britain, the former colonial master,” she said.

The Zimbabwean representative concluded her statement by calling upon the Council to condemn EU states for violations of freedom of expression and for its non-respect of Zimbabwe’s right to self determination.

EU Defends Gay Rights 
During the general debate, the EU strongly deplored instances of discrimination against Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBT) in Russia, Kuwait, Sudan and Iran and condemned the renewal of violence in West Darfur.

Pakistan on behalf of the Islamic bloc addressed the issue of self-determination in cases of occupation, citing the cases of Kashmir and Palestine.

Malaysia deplored the fact that “Islam is consistently subject to defamation,” and called for exceptions to freedom of expression.

UN Watch testified before the Council against the grave violations of the right to life that are committed in Darfur on a daily basis. Exercising a right of reply, Sudan said that UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer “is continuing to live in a world of media exaggeration on the subject of Darfur where the sufferings of people are exploited for an agenda that has nothing to do with Darfur.”

To read the official UN meeting summary, click here.

To watch the live webcast of the session, click here.

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