All articles from: September, 2009

Background Briefing Senior U.S. Officials on P5+1 Talks in Geneva

We’re involved in a series of preparatory meetings today with our other 5+1 partners. Tomorrow will be a full day between the 5+1 group led by Javier Solana and the Iranian delegation. It’s likely to start around 10 in the morning with a series of plenary meetings, interspersed with informal breaks which will allow each of us an opportunity both for consultations amongst the 5+1 group, but also sidebar conversations with the Iranians. At least it allows for the possibility of that. It’s an opportunity to reinforce the main concerns that we’ll be emphasizing in the meeting.

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Item 9: Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

The United States is committed to the fight against discrimination, intolerance, and xenophobia based on race, religion, or otherwise, and we appreciate the consideration of these issues undertaken by the Rapporteur. While we do not support the concept of “defamation of religions” for reasons well known to this Council, my government is strongly committed to religious freedom and has condemned the use of negative and derogatory stereotypes and discrimination and/or discriminatory policies.

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Intervention of Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor

Michael Posner Speaking at a Press Conference during his first Visit to Geneva as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor (U.S. Mission Photo - P. Proctor)

Mr. President, Thank you. I am pleased to address the Council as the new U. S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. I value the opportunity to participate at this forum, where I can develop a greater understanding of what we can do to support effective action on human rights issues by the Council and the United Nations. Last Wednesday, President Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly and called for a new era of U.S. engagement with the world. He expressed his determination that the United States be a leader in meeting complex challenges to global prosperity and peace.

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NNSA Megaports Initiative Expands to Four New Ports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has completed installation and testing of radiation detection systems at four new ports this month: Ashdod, Israel; Lisbon, Portugal; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Port Klang, Malaysia. This new equipment is part of a global effort to implement President Obama’s commitment to prevent nuclear terrorism by securing dangerous nuclear material around the world.

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Item 5: Report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People on its Second Session

The United States welcomes the work of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, having had the opportunity to attend its Second Session in Geneva. The cooperative tone and rich, substantive discussion during the Session further contributed to our own reflections on how best to work with indigenous peoples in the United States to improve education. My government looks forward to participating in the Third Session, and to providing input to the next study on “indigenous peoples and the rights to participate in decision-making,” should the Council adopt the Experts’ recommendation for the next study topic.

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U.S. Response to the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

I appreciate the opportunity to address the Council with respect to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. This is my first appearance before the Human Rights Council representing the United States as the new Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. I want to set my comments about this report in a broader context. Earlier this year President Obama expressed his deep concern over the loss of life and humanitarian suffering in both Israel and Gaza. He has also made clear his abiding commitment to comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in which two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace and security.

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60th Session of the UNHCR Executive Committee

I’m very pleased to be in Geneva leading the United States delegation to the 60th Session of the Executive Committee of UNHCR. We reaffirm UNHCR’s noble purposes, we share the organization’s objectives, and we believe that UNHCR is heading in the right direction in terms of its mandate and its programs.

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United States Announces Record Level of Humanitarian Assistance in 2009

Last week at the UN General Assembly, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. Government’s commitment to engage with partners in the international community to address critical common challenges. There may be no better symbol of that partnership than the United States’ involvement with and support for UN agencies providing life-saving and life-sustaining assistance to the most vulnerable of the world’s citizens.

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FY 2009 USG Voluntary Contributions to International Organizations for Humanitarian Assistance

Humanitarian Contributions 9-29-09 (pdf attachment)

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Geneva Press Briefing by Harold Hongju Koh and Michael Posner

Michael Posner (left) and Harold Hongju Koh (right) speaking at a press briefing in Geneva

Let me say on behalf of President Obama and Secretary Clinton how delighted we are to be here. With the Obama administration’s renewed focus on the cooperative efforts of the world and rejoining those efforts, Geneva has again emerged as an extremely important place for the United States government. The Assistant Secretary for International Organizations, Esther Brimmer was here at the beginning of this session. As the Legal Adviser I’m here now with Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner which in some way presents the three faces of the Human Rights Council for the United States: an international organization with which we are committed to engage; a set of international legal standards that we’re committed to observe and to seek observance from others; and a set of human rights standards which were laid down through a process that began in the late 1940s, in which the United States was deeply involved.

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