German Statement in the General Debate of the Third Committee during the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 18 October 2023

18.10.2023 - Speech

Statement delivered by Ambassador Antje Leendertse.

Mr. Chair,

Germany aligns itself with the EU statement.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we reaffirm our commitment to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights as fundamental and inalienable rights of all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, origin, religion, or any other status.

War and aggression continue to be among the greatest threats to fundamental guarantees of human rights and the principles of the UN Charter. We join others in condemning the indiscriminate attacks by Hamas across Israel in the strongest possible terms and reiterate Israel’s right to self-defense in line with the UN Charter. We are horrified by yesterday’s blast killing hundreds of innocent civilians at Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza. Civilian targets, notably a fully operational hospital with patients and health personnel, must not be attacked by anyone under any circumstances. Civilians must be protected with full respect to international humanitarian law. Safe and unimpeded humanitarian access must be ensured.

We equally condemn Russia’s continued war of aggression against Ukraine and the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed. International crimes against the civilian population, including thousands of children, must be accounted for.

Mr. Chair,

Germany's unwavering commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights includes protecting civil and political rights. We believe that the respect for individual freedoms, such as the freedom of expression, assembly and association are crucial in creating strong and resilient societies. Therefore, the protection of human rights defenders from repression and reprisals is of key importance. Acts of repression in violation of human rights cannot be considered as internal matters of sovereignty, as they affect international obligations, and because their effects transcend borders.

Germany places equal importance on social, economic and cultural rights. We are a leading contributor in the field of development cooperation, and we remain dedicated to redoubling our efforts to achieve the Agenda 2030 goals.

We are proud to be co-facilitating this year’s resolution on the human rights to water and sanitation together with Spain – as well as the resolution on National Human Rights Institutions.

Germany firmly believes in the inherent dignity and equality of all individuals, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, or origin. Racism is not only a blatant contradiction to human rights, it also undermines the stability of societies and must therefore be eradicated.

Germany recognizes the pivotal role of gender equality in ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights by women and girls, in all their diversity. We are committed to advancing gender equality both domestically and – as an integral part of our Feminist Foreign Policy.

Mr. Chair,

Germany is acutely aware of the historical and moral responsibility associated with past injustices. This includes the restitution of cultural goods. We acknowledge the importance of restitution as an integral part of respecting the cultural heritage and rights of affected communities.

Specifically, Germany is committed to engaging in a constructive dialogue and cooperation with countries and communities seeking the return of cultural artifacts, such as the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. We recognize the cultural, historical, and symbolic value of these artifacts to their countries of origin. Germany underscores the importance of fostering international collaboration and ethical practices in the management of cultural heritage, promoting a shared commitment to preserving the diversity and richness of the world's cultural legacy. Germany remains determined to make its contribution towards a fair and just resolution that respects the rights and aspirations of all parties involved.

In the context of the preparation process, my delegation looks forward to working with all Member States as we make sure that the realization of the human rights of all will be taken into account in the relevant chapters of the Pact for the Future. Let me underscore my personal and Germany’s conviction that young people need to be meaningfully involved and take a visible role in the Summit of the Future and beyond.

I thank you.

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