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Panel Discussion on the Right to Truth
March 10, 2010


Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 13th Session

Statement delivered by Tara E. Foley
Geneva, March 9, 2010

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States is pleased to participate in this panel on the Right to Truth and to make this statement in support of the work on the right to truth by this panel, the Human Rights Council, Governments, the Office of the High Commissioner, and civil society. We thank in particular the Delegation of Argentina for first putting this important matter before the Commission on Human Rights in 2005. Respect for the right to truth serves to advance respect for the rule of law, transparency, honesty, accountability, justice, and good governance – all key principles underlying a democratic society.

One of the core tenets guiding our participation as a member of the Human Rights Council is fidelity to the truth.

We see the right to truth as closely linked to the right to seek, receive, and impart information under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We also observe, as recognized in the Council and Commission resolutions on the right to truth, that the right to truth may be characterized differently in certain legal systems, such as our own, as the right to be informed, freedom of information, or the right to know.

Although the United States is not a party to Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, at the ICRC Conference on the Missing in February 2003, as well as at the 28th ICRC/Red Cross Conference in December 2003, we acknowledged that a right to know is referred to in Article 32 of that Additional Protocol. Furthermore, we support the principle that families have a right to know the fate of their missing family members.

In conclusion, we underscore that the right to the truth is inextricably linked to the promotion of democratic ideals, human rights, and justice.

Thank you, Mr. President.