Friday, February 26, 2021

The president will address the UN session. Themes? Pandemic, situation in Belarus and Russia, persecution because of religion


The consequences of the pandemic for human rights, the situation in Belarus and Russia, and the issue of persecution on the grounds of religion – these are the topics that President Andrzej Duda will address in his speech at the UN Human Rights Council, President Krzysztof Szczerski told PAP.

President Andrzej Duda will take part in the high-level debate of the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Monday. The speech of the Polish leader will be broadcast on the first day of the event, which, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, will take the form of a videoconference.

Pandemic Impact Warning

The minister in the KPRP, Krzysztof Szczerski, told PAP that the president will say in his speech, inter alia, “On the human rights effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the world.” According to Szczerski, the president will emphasize that the issues of health protection and health safety are now considered one of the basic human rights in the public awareness.

The issue of health security has become a human rights issue today, so this should also be discussed by bodies such as the Human Rights Council. (…) In the context of the pandemic, the President will also point out that we must do everything – as an international community – to prevent the pandemic from further stratifying (dividing) into rich and poor in the world

– the minister in the KPRP noted.

The president would also point out – emphasized Szczerski – that despite the world’s focus on the pandemic, the threats related to the violation of human rights have not expired, “there are problems with them today, these rights are violated”.

In this context, the president will, of course, talk about Belarus. This is especially true after the sentencing of two Belsat TV journalists to two years in a labor camp, which the president said on Thursday

– said Szczerski. Two journalists from Belsat – Kaciaryna Andreyeva and Daria Czulcowa – were sentenced on Thursday by a court in Minsk to two years in prison for “organizing riots”; reporters were punished for reporting online at the meeting. Their trial was considered political.

The president will also talk about Russia. Not only about the release of Alexei Navalny, but also, above all, he will ask for the fate of all anonymous supporters of freedom and democracy in Russia, those who protested, were detained, were imprisoned and their fate is unknown.

– Szczerski continued. The presidential minister emphasized that it was about asking “for those anonymous people in Russia, not only those famous, from the front pages of newspapers.”

A court in Moscow decided on February 2 that the suspended sentence against Navalny, issued in 2014 for alleged financial embezzlement, would be converted into an absolute imprisonment. The trial in which this judgment was handed down was found by the ECtHR in 2017 to be unfair. The oppositionist is in pre-trial detention in Moscow. The appeal filed by Navalny’s advocates against the decision to “hang up” the sentence will be examined in a higher court in Moscow next Saturday. If the decision becomes final, Navalny will have to spend two years and eight months in the penal colony. Demonstrations in defense of Navalny took place in many cities in Russia and ended in mass detentions.

Szczerski emphasized that the president will also talk about Ukraine during his speech.

The president will also stand up for the rights of the inhabitants of the occupied territories of Ukraine (…) because there are also violations of human rights and freedoms

– emphasized the minister in the KPRP.

According to him, Andrzej Duda “will also repeat our commitment to protect the most vulnerable – disabled people, children, those who are the first victims of persecution and violations of civil rights and freedoms.”

The president will pay attention to the issue of religious freedom

The president will also talk – according to Szczerski – about “religious freedom – as an important element of human rights”.

Persecution on the grounds of religion is widespread in the world today

– emphasized the minister.

The president will also refer – continued Szczerski – to “the need to guarantee the freedom of speech in the digital world, which is now widely discussed by societies around the world.

gah / PAP





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