Korčok in Geneva: “It is our priority in the UN Human Rights Council to fight against all forms of racism, xenophobia, intolerance and hatred"

Korčok in Geneva: “It is our priority in the UN Human Rights Council to fight against all forms of racism, xenophobia, intolerance and hatred"

27.2.2018 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Slovensko a OSN | Ľudské práva

The fight against racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance in society, freedom of religion and confession, as well as the support for the rights and freedoms of the child belong among the priorities of the Slovakia´s membership in the UN Human Rights Council. This was said today (27 February) in Geneva by State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Korčok, in his address given within the high-level segment of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council.  “From all the corners of the world we can hear information about attempts of various extremist groups to radicalize children and young people. Therefore nowadays, more than any time before, we are faced with the task to emphasize the education of children.  We have committed to this in the 2030 Agenda and now it is the time to find the political will to execute these commitments with concrete content. But more than that: during its OSCE Chairmanship in 2019, Slovakia has the objective to reach a greater synergy between the OSCE and the UN so that we can move humanrights, sustainable peace and security forward,” stated Korčok, who launched his address by condemning the murder of the Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak, while he assured the audience that the Slovak government will pay special attention to investigating this case without undue delay. 


The recent developments in Slovakia were also mentioned in the opening of the talks with Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “I would like to assure you that the Slovak authorities will do everything so that the murder of these two young people is investigated and the perpetrators are brought to justice. This abominable act will not go unpunished,” stated Korčok. The High Commissioner was also interested in the priorities of the Slovak Republic in the HRC; the Slovak State Secretary underlined that Slovakia regards observing human rights very highly. ”It is the country’s priority to fight against all forms of racism, xenophobia, intolerance and hatred, as well as against all forms of discrimination and to support freedom of religion and freedom of speech,” said Korčok who also answered Prince´s Zeid’s questions regarding the position of Romas in Slovakia. 

From 1 January 2018 the Slovak Republic has become a member of this core human rights forum for the next three years and as a HRC member it is ready to support the Council’s efforts to maximize conflict prevention, to react to violations of human rights in the world, and to search for solutions to such topical issues as nuclear disarmament and migration. 

Meeting with Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Slovak State Secretary reiterated that it is necessary that we focus on removing the causes of migration. “It is the primary responsibility of the states from which migrants come from but these states alone are not able to cope with this problem – without the support and help by the international community. In this regard Slovakia appreciates and acknowledges the role of the International Organization for Migration,” stated Korčok, who was also interested in the opinions of his partners regarding preparations of global compacts for migration and refugees. “We can see a double role for all of us in this matter: on one hand we as the international community must do more to globally react to the phenomenon of migration; on the other hand we must do more to explain to our citizens as well as in the communication among states about which solutions are acceptable for us and why they are also in our interest," stated the Slovak State Secretary in speaking with the IOM Director General.

As far as mandatory refugee quotas are concerned, the Slovak State Secretary emphasized that it is necessary to strictly distinguish between migrants and refugees, those who really need our asylum help from those who migrate due to economic reasons. “First of all, it is necessary to implement effective measures to protect the EU’s external borders. This is the point from which our capability to effectively manage the migration crisis is derived from – today as well as in the future," said Korčok in the discussions with Grandi, recalling Slovakia´s active engagement in coping with the migration crisis. “We highly appreciate the activities that the UNHRC Office undertakes to help the refugees directly in the field where its help is most needed. We have successfully cooperated with UNHCR in the Emergency Transit Center in Humenné, through which more than 1,000 refugees moved to third countries, especially to the USA. We are ready to continue in this cooperation with your office, especially as far as the most vulnerable persons are concerned,” he said.

In the afternoon State Secretary Korčok gave an address at the Disarmament Conference, pointing to the position of the Slovak Republic vis-à-vis the current issues of this agenda.  “The global security environment is marked by violations of international law, nuclear and ballistic tests, deployment of chemical weapons, constant escalation of tensions and the threat of terrorism.  Therefore, it is even more important to provide that disarmament mechanisms – especially regarding nuclear disarmament – can react to these challenges.  Therefore we call for restarting the talks about the treaty prohibiting the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons.  We are convinced that such a document will contribute to the ultimate objective of eliminating nuclear weapons in the world based on effective, verifiable and irreversible steps,” stated Korčok in his address, highlighting the central role of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in the system of international mechanisms for nuclear disarmament. This topic, as well as the evaluation of the existing successful cooperation and the assessment of its further extension in promoting the security sector reform agenda in the UN and OSCE, was also tabled during the State Secretary´s talks with Thomas Guerber, Director of the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF).