Statement by the Human Rights Commissioner in the UN Human Rights Council

Oct 01, 2023
By PUCL Bulletin - October Edition

In the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council, on September 11, 2023, Volker Türk delivered a statement addressing it to the President and other dignitaries of the Council. In this statement, he mentioned India, among other countries like Palestine, Iraq, Russia, Iran, Ethiopia and various others. He highlighted humanitarian crises, human rights violations, civil and political issues as well as social and economic issues faced by people in various countries. While only an excerpt is published here, the full statement can be found on:


Distinguished President,
Distinguished delegates,

In my work with the United Nations over the years, it has become clear to me that development issues underlie almost every challenge we face.

People everywhere want – and have a right to – a decent standard of living. Food on the table, and access to affordable medical care when they need it. Education and equal opportunities for themselves and their children. Good economic prospects, with a fair share of resources. A clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The freedom to make their own choices. Objective information, not propaganda. Justice and police systems that uphold their rights.

And to ensure all of this, they want active and meaningful participation in decisions, and governments that serve their needs – not elites whose needs they have to serve.

But time and again, I see people deprived of these rights, and crushed by development that is neither respectful nor fair. Injustice, poverty, exploitation and repression are the cause of grievances that drive tensions, conflicts, displacement and further misery – on and on.

(…)This spiralling damage is a human rights emergency for Iraq – and many other countries. Climate change is pushing millions of people into famine. It is destroying hopes, opportunities, homes and lives. In recent months, urgent warnings have become lethal realities again and again all around the world.

We do not need more warnings. The dystopian future is already here.

We need urgent action, now.

Instead of unity of purpose, and decisive, cooperative leadership, we’re seeing the politics of division and distraction – for instance, through the fabrication of artificial disputes over gender, migration or imagining a “clash” of civilisations. (…) We’re also seeing the politics of indifference, the numbing of our mind and soul – an effort to deflect our innermost feature, compassion, by simply negating the humanity of victims and people vulnerable to harm.

(…) In India, my Office frequently receives information that marginalised minority communities are subjected to violence and discrimination. Muslims are often the target of such attacks, most recently in Haryana and Gurugram, in northern India. In Manipur, other communities have also been facing violence and insecurity since May. There is a clear need to redouble efforts to uphold the rights of all minorities, by dealing in a forthright manner with intolerance, hate speech, religious extremism and discrimination.