GENEVA / HRC OPENING ZEID

11-Sep-2017 00:02:36
Speaking at the opening of the Human Rights Council session in Geneva, the top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the situation in Myanmar “seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” UNIFEED
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STORY: GENEVA / HRC OPENING ZEID
TRT: 2:36
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 11 SEPTEMBER 2017, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, exterior, Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot, Human Rights Room
3. Med shot, Myanmar delegate
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Because Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed, but the situation remains or seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
5. Med shot, Venezuela delegates
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“My investigation suggests the possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed, which can only be confirmed by a subsequent criminal investigation. While I support the concept of a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the current mechanism is inadequate. I therefore urge that it be reconfigured with the support and involvement of the international community”.
7. Close up, Syrian delegate
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The conflict in Syria has redefined the meaning of the word horror. The continuation of this nightmare will forever darken the legacy of this generation of world leaders. All parties to the conflict continue to engage in action involving grave impact on civilians. My Office has documented hundreds of airstrikes and ground-based strikes in 2017 which have killed thousands of civilians from across the country, at least a quarter of them children”.
9. Wide shot, delegates
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“The suffering of the Yemeni people is now compounded by the grave epidemic of cholera, which is a direct result of indiscriminate attacks by parties to the conflict on medical centres and other protected objects, as well as sieges, blockades, and restrictions on movement. We continue to receive numerous reports of arbitrary or illegal detention, enforced disappearances and torture and ill-treatment by both sides to the conflict. The devastation of Yemen and the horrific suffering of its people will have immense and enduring repercussions across the region”.
11. Wide shot, delegates
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Terrorists may attack us, but the intellectual authors of those crimes will then often sit back and watch as governments peel away at human rights protections; watch as our societies gradually unravel, with many setting course toward authoritarianism and oppression – staging for us, not a century of achievement and pride, but a century that is small, bitter and deprived, for the vast majority of humans”.
13. Wide shot, delegates
STORYLINE
Speaking at the opening of the Human Rights Council session in Geneva today (11 Sep), the top UN human rights official Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the situation in Myanmar “seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Zeid said that "the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed" because Myanmar refuses access to human rights investigators.

This is the 36th session of the Human Rights Council and it is scheduled to last from 11 to 29 September 2017.

On Venezuela, one of the countries the High Commissioner focused on, he said “my investigation suggests the possibility that crimes against humanity may have been committed, which can only be confirmed by a subsequent criminal investigation."

He added in “while I support the concept of a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the current mechanism is inadequate. I therefore urge that it be reconfigured with the support and involvement of the international community”.

Syria continues to have serious violations and abuses of human rights, according to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

He said “the conflict in Syria has redefined the meaning of the word horror. The continuation of this nightmare will forever darken the legacy of this generation of world leaders. All parties to the conflict continue to engage in action involving grave impact on civilians. My Office has documented hundreds of airstrikes and ground-based strikes in 2017 which have killed thousands of civilians from across the country, at least a quarter of them children.”

As the human rights situation in Yemen is extremely alarming, the High Commissioner urged -- for the third time before the Council -- the establishment of an international and independent body to carry out investigations of violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law.

Zeid said that “the suffering of the Yemeni people is now compounded by the grave epidemic of cholera, which is a direct result of indiscriminate attacks by parties to the conflict on medical centres and other protected objects, as well as sieges, blockades, and restrictions on movement.”

The High Commissioner struck a very somber tone on human rights across the globe, saying that the world has grown “darker and dangerous” since he became High Commissioner three years ago.

Zeid is entering the last year of his mandate, but vowed to continue in his vigorous defense of human rights worldwide.

He said that the Council should consider “the need to exclude from this body states involved in the most egregious violations of human rights." He did not mention which states specifically should be excluded, but a number of countries currently on the Council have come in for scathing criticism from human rights advocates.

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system. It is made up of 47 states and it is responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
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