Finnish Foreign Minister in Geneva to attend the 55th session of the Human Rights Council meeting

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Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Elina Valtonen is visiting Geneva, Switzerland, today where she will deliver a keynote address to the 55th session of the Human Rights Council apart from attending a meeting of the Conference on Disarmament.

“The UN Human Rights Council has an important mandate to ensure that human rights are respected around the world. Human rights belong to everyone. When people are free, they choose a society where everyone is equally free. It is a sustainable foundation for peace,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Valtonen.

As a member of the Human Rights Council, Finland systematically promotes the rights of women and girls, gender equality, the rights of persons and groups in vulnerable situations, and the implementation of accountability. Finland’s three-year term began on 1 December 2022 and ends on 31 December 2024.

Finland is supportive of the independence of free civil society, human rights defenders, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as a member of the Human Rights Council.

She is expected to meet Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya in an event organised by Finland, which will highlight the work of human rights defenders fighting for democracy and civil society freedom.

Foreign Minister Valtonen will have bilateral meetings with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Geneva. She will also meet foreign ministers from other countries and leaders of international organizations.

The topics in Geneva will include the situation in the Middle East and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which is now entering its third year and which Finland condemns in the strongest terms. These are among the issues that the Council is expected to take a stand on during its six-week spring session taking place from 26 February to 5 April.


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