With High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour
U.S. statement by Ambassador Warren W. Tichenor
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States welcomes this opportunity to engage with High Commissioner Arbour on the important work undertaken by her office.
Thank you for your report Madame High Commissioner, the United States salutes and supports the vital work you and your staff perform in the field, often times at risk to their well-being in places like Darfur.
We had hoped that the Government of Sudan would follow through on the commitment it undertook when it accepted the consensus resolution of the December Special Session and allow the Assessment Mission to visit the region. My delegation calls on the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the Assessment Mission. A question, was the Assessment Mission able to discuss the situation in Darfur with the UN human rights monitors deployed there?
My government is also deeply concerned by recent events in Zimbabwe, where democratic opponents of the Mugabe regime gathered peacefully for a prayer meeting were brutally attacked by government security forces this past weekend. At least one person was killed, others – including children – were wounded and over 100 were arrested. Among others, Morgan Tsvangirai, a leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, was severely beaten after being detained. We welcome your statement regarding the situation in Zimbabwe. While we welcome yesterday’s release from detention of Mr. Tsvangirai and other detainees, we remain concerned by reports of continued harassment and arrest of demonstrators. We would welcome any information your office can provide on developments in Zimbabwe. The United States Government believes the Council should consider urgent situations such as this.
Madame High Commissioner, my delegation appreciates your report on your recent visits to Asia and Latin America. We would appreciate future updates on Burma, North Korea, Iran and Cuba. Countries where citizens are unable to exercise their basic civil and political rights, suffer the repressive tactics of dictatorial regimes, and wait in hope for the international community to respond to their pleas for support.
Thank you, Madame High Commissioner and I thank you Mr. President.