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U.S. Statement at the UPR of the United Kingdom
May 24, 2012

Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
13th Working Group Session
UPR Intervention for the United Kingdom

May 24, 2012

(as drafted)

The United States warmly welcomes Lord McNally and the British delegation.

We applaud the UK’s commitment to addressing human rights, including respecting religious diversity, safeguarding the rights of children, addressing violence against women and girls, and fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

We welcome the recent steps taken to reform the defamation law in England and Wales, which will promote greater freedom of expression in these societies.

While we welcome the UK’s commitment to combat trafficking, the devolution of law enforcement powers to Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland has resulted in different trafficking laws in each.  Inconsistencies and inadequate victim protection measures in these devolved authorities could result in re-trafficking of victims.

We commend the creation of the Historical Enquiries Team of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to investigate unsolved murders during the Troubles.  However, severe backlogs due to insufficient resources and personnel impede progress on the swift and transparent closure that so many families on both sides seek.

We applaud the creation of the Hate Crime Action Plan and hope that agencies will improve their ability to work together to address violence against women, immigrants, members of religious minorities, persons with disabilities, and children.  Disaggregated data collection of hate crime statistics will be key to honing prevention and investigation in the future.

Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the following recommendations:

  • Standardize anti-trafficking responses across the UK insofar as possible given the devolution of law enforcement powers, and appoint a rapporteur in each devolved authority to make critical assessments and improve the UK’s overall anti-trafficking response;
  • Encourage the devolved government of Northern Ireland to increase resources and personnel available to the Historical Enquiries Team; and
  • Strengthen data collection and maintain disaggregated data to better understand the scale and severity of hate crimes towards women, immigrants, members of religious minorities, persons with disabilities, and children.