Intervention by the United States of America
Interactive Dialogue with the SR on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions,
SRSG for HR & Transnational Corporations, and SR for Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Human Rights Council
May 30, 2011
Thank you, Mr. President,
The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Heyns for his thorough report to the Council on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions. We look forward to continuing our engagement with Special Rapporteur Heyns on the recommendations of his follow-up report on the United States when it is presented to the Council.
We commend the Special Rapporteur for his timely work on the right to life in the context of the Right to Peaceful Assembly.
Given the centrality of Freedom of Assembly in the context of democratic transitions, it is essential for states to ensure protection of the right to life during the exercise of this fundamental freedom.
While we share the view that not all demonstrations can proceed unrestricted, we strongly agree that any restrictions on Freedom of Asembly must be content neutral.
We would disagree with the premise that assemblies may be regulated on the basis of their content – such as if they promote hatred, discrimination, or controversial political views or ideas, and would note that content neutral time, place, and manner restrictions can be effectively used to maintain public order. We would be interested in the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations for how the Council might be able to assist states in periods of transition, to incorporate international human rights into their domestic rights frameworks.
In addition, we observe the particular attention given in Special Rapporteur Heyns’ report to the “Channel 4 videotape” from Sri Lanka. We take note of the overall conclusion reached by your report that the video is authentic and the events reflected in the video footage occurred as depicted.
We also note your conclusion that the video footage indicates the commission of serious crimes, and your opinion that the video footage should be examined systematically and professionally, together with any other available evidence, by domestic investigators appointed by the Sri Lankan Government, as well as by an independent, international investigative body, with a clear mandate to establish accountability for the killings.
We would be interested in hearing more about the level and extent of your engagement with the Sri Lankan authorities on this issue to date, particularly with respect to how accountability can be ensured, how impunity can be prevented, and how the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka can be assured a solid foundation?
We also thank Special Representative Ruggie for his report and express our great appreciation for his work advancing the field of business and human rights during his mandate.
Special Representative Ruggie’s final report, the Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, is a significant achievement. It provides a valuable policy framework for business and human rights that will assist states, businesses and civil society actors alike in evaluating and developing effective policies and practices in these areas. It also provides a well-developed foundation for stakeholders to embark on the next phase of work, which will be to implement the Guiding Principles as widely and effectively as possible. This implementation phase will be essential to realize the full potential of the Guiding Principles and to make the human rights protections they envision a reality.
The challenge, as Special Representative Ruggie notes in his report, is that due to the myriad of stakeholders, operational contexts, and human rights potentially at risk, there is no “one size fits all” solution. The complex – but essential – next phase will require all stakeholders to undertake individual and collaborative efforts to find the best practices and most effective strategies for implementing the Guiding Principles in many different environments and contexts.
Special Representative Ruggie has underscored that capacity-building efforts and multi-stakeholder collaboration are necessary components for implementation-focused follow-up to his mandate.
Professor Ruggie, do you have particular recommendations for short and medium-term capacity building steps and how multi-stakeholder collaboration should be structured and engaged to best support implementation of the Guiding Principles?
Finally, the United States thanks Special Rapporteur Knaul for her report to the Council and her work as the mandate holder on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers. We welcome her report’s dual focus on both the administration of justice for women and women’s efforts and challenges within the judiciary. The report calls attention to the challenges that religious, cultural or local customs can at times pose to the application of equal legal protections for women. Do you have recommendations for actions the Council might consider in order to effectively address these challenges?