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Item 4 General Debate – Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
June 8, 2009

UN Human Rights Council 11th Session
Statement by the Delegation of the United States
Geneva, June 8, 2009

Mark C. Storella, Charge d’Affaires, a.i.

Thank you, Mr. President.

We are convinced that only together, as a community of nations, can we achieve a world in which all governments live up to their obligations to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
To do so, we must embrace robust and constructive discussion and debate on the human rights challenges of our time.

This Council provides the platform for debate, not only on important thematic issues but also on specific violations in a given region or country. Indeed, this Council has a duty to act in cases of egregious human rights violations and be specific about what violations are occurring and where.

My government was disappointed by the recent no-action motion to halt debate in this Council. We believe it is extremely important and entirely appropriate that all sides have an opportunity to share their views on critically important human rights issues; if this Council becomes a body of no-action, it will severely diminish its credibility and effectiveness.

We are pleased the Council is taking up the situation in Sudan. We continue to be gravely concerned for the people of Darfur, the Three Areas, and elsewhere in Sudan. We strongly urge this Council to extend the special rapporteur’s mandate for one year. We further ask that the Government of Sudan address humanitarian needs and allow full, safe, and unhindered access to humanitarian workers and international organizations.
The U.S. is also hopeful for a lasting peace in Sri Lanka based on national reconciliation and full respect for human rights.

The United States is deeply concerned by the recent actions of Burmese authorities against Aung San Suu Kyi including efforts to isolate and silence her. The charges leveled against her are unjustified, and we urge her immediate and unconditional release.

The United States is grateful to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for its work to improve human rights situations around the world. We recognize the many governments that work in partnership with the Office. We particularly encourage the cooperation between that Office and the government of Nepal to reduce impunity and to strengthen national capacity to protect and promote human rights.