An official website of the United States government

OHCHR Support Can Help Mitigate Impact of Crises, Stabilize Government Institutions, Improve the Lives of Citi
Item 10 General Debate
July 4, 2012

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Margaret Wang
Human Rights Council 20th Session
July 4, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Technical assistance and capacity-building in the area of human rights are some of the most tangible forms of support that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) can offer.  States that proactively seek out this support can mitigate the impacts of crises, stabilize government institutions to effectively provide public services, and improve the quality of life for their citizens.

The United States congratulates governments that have sought assistance from OHCHR through resolutions adopted under this item, and for their willingness to seek solutions to the challenges they face.  Kyrgyzstan, Cote d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Libya, and Somalia have set positive examples of how cooperation with the OHCHR on technical assistance and capacity-building can enhance a government’s ability to protect and promote the human rights of its citizens.  As these countries can attest, attention from the Council under Item 10 is designed to provide constructive engagement.  Over time, such engagement, and the advances in human rights protection that it fosters, should eliminate a country’s need for assistance from the Council and even enable that country to become an example for others.

This body should encourage States to request OHCHR assistance under Item 10 willingly, before conditions in the country become dire.  Governments have a responsibility to seek out opportunities for assistance to prevent human suffering.

When States do seek assistance, OHCHR and other States should offer timely and tailored input.  We would encourage States that have overcome similar challenges to share best practices, provide training, and lend support.  OHCHR and its staff should stand ready to provide actionable recommendations, feedback, and programs specifically relevant to the recipient country, which its government can implement to effect positive changes on the ground.  Monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation throughout a recipient country is an important part of helping a country engage with the international community to determine what types of technical assistance would be most beneficial, and what is available.  No country and no challenge exist in isolation.  To be able to provide constructive assistance to a government, OHCHR staff must be able to travel, hold dialogues, and report findings freely.  Only with comprehensive knowledge of a country, gained with the full cooperation of the government, can successful technical assistance and capacity-building be accomplished.  Only then will the true recipients — individuals on the ground – reap the full benefits.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.