Zovko visits UNHRC in Geneva with delegation of Subcommittee DROI

Brussels 20 March 2019,

Respect for the rights of every individual is a fundamental value of the European Union. The EU does not only guarantee human rights among its own citizens, but also aims to promote it worldwide. In order to achieve the latter, a frequent exchange of views with partner countries and organisations is essential. On 19 and 20 March 2019, MEP Željana Zovko participated in a European Parliament’s delegation in an official visit of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The official delegation met with Ms. Vivar Aguirre, Human Rights Officer on rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and with Mr. Tzeggai on behalf of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. The main point of the discussion was the way of reinforcing EU-UN cooperation on FoRB themes. Given the importance of protecting and promoting FoRB in the world in the framework of EU’s dialogues in third countries, Ms Zovko and her colleagues in the European Parliament approved in 2016 the establishment of a European Special Envoy for FoRB.

During the mission to Geneva, Ms. Zovko had the honour to chair a meeting of the parliamentarian delegation with Antoine Grand, Deputy Director of Operations in the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Thomas Hallier, who is an Operations Coordinator in the ICRC for the region Eurasia. They debated the current humanitarian crises worldwide and the complexity of the difference between humanitarian aid and development cooperation. Special attention focussed on the situation in Myanmar and Syria.

The delegation was also welcomed by Ms. Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner on Human Rights, with whom they evaluated the key human rights challenges and the importance of human rights-based policies contributing to a better outcome for people in terms of economic and social rights, and serving a role of conflict prevention. In addition, the delegation members inquired Ms. Gilmore about the inequality challenge highlighted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Developing a preventive approach to human rights violations through access to education, the fight against violence against women as well as the inclusion of women in the peace and security agenda was considered to be of particular importance.

The Parliamentarian delegation was led by Vice-chair of the DROI subcommittee Barbara Lochbiller (Greens/EFA). Other participants were Andrzej Grzyb (EPP), Josef Weidenholzer (S&D) and Wajid Khan (S&D).

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