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U.S. Statement: Item 5 General Debate at the Human Rights Council
March 16, 2010

UN Human Rights Council 11th Session

General Debate

Agenda Item 5


Statement by the Delegation of the United States

Delivered by John Mariz


Human Rights Council, Geneva

March 16, 2010


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States appreciates the reports of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, the Social Forum and the Forum on Minority issues.

We read with interest the report of the Advisory Committee, in particular the draft declaration on human rights education and training. We agree that human rights education and training is intimately connected to the enjoyment of human rights. People can only effectively exercise human rights that they understand. We look forward to engaging with you all to produce a declaration aimed specifically at promoting best practices for the furthering of human rights education and training.

The United States was pleased to participate in the Second Forum on Minority Issues, which provided a unique setting to hear the experiences and views of all sectors of society and of the international community. We welcome the practical, action-oriented approach of its recommendations. In the United States, we have struggled for generations to ensure effective political participation for all our citizens – regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, or language. Today, we use many important tools to combat current voting rights barriers, although we continue to work hard to ensure not just equal access to the polls, but an equal voice in our democracy. We look forward to participating in the Forum in the future.

The United States appreciates as well as the role of the Social Forum as a space for open dialogue between Member States, civil society, and intergovernmental organizations. We thank the Chairperson, Ambassador Logar, for his report.

The United States recognizes the important role that social protection systems can play – and have played – in responding to the global economic crisis. Social protection policy is based largely on judgments about needs, and there are legitimate variations in these judgments across countries. Therefore, the details of a social security package should be determined by a democratic electorate at the national and local level, which can best take into account national circumstances and human rights protections. We appreciate the Forum’s mention of the ILO’s 2009 Global Jobs Pact, which elaborates useful principles within which each country can develop policy responses, including through social protection systems, to the global economic crisis that are specific to its national situation and priorities.

Thank you, Mr. President.