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Recent UN Reports on Sri Lanka and Iran Show Need for Council’s Continued Scrutiny
March 20, 2013

Item 2: Response to the Country Reports of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary General

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe

Human Rights Council 22nd Session

Geneva, March 20, 2013

         The United States thanks the Office of the High Commissioner for its continued reporting on a wide variety of country situations around the world.  We would like to highlight the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka and the Secretary General’s report on Iran, both of which clearly show the need for the Council’s continued scrutiny.  The United States hopes that all Council members will join us in voting in favor of the resolutions before us on these countries.

In Mali, we commend the interim authorities for their forward leaning stance in condemning the multiplicity of human rights violations and abuses occurring in the north by irregular and Malian forces.  We also appreciate the High Commissioner’s attention to this situation.  We note with concern that within the Malian armed forces there appears to be a lack of “command and control.”  There continue to be reports that Malian security forces may have perpetrated or be complicit in reprisal killings against ethnic minorities in the north.  We also note with grave concern the reports of extrajudicial killing and torture.  We encourage the interim government to take all necessary steps to investigate these allegations and hold the perpetrators accountable.  We are also gravely concerned by the escalation of sexual violence against women and girls in the north.

The United States encourages the Government of Afghanistan to continue making positive strides in the promotion and protection of human rights.  We note with grave concern the widespread reports of torture and mistreatment of detainees by members of the Afghan National Security Forces, including the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the National Directorate of Security (NDS).  Although the NDS has taken measures to investigate torture, including through the formation of the new Human Rights Unit to investigate alleged human rights violations in its detention facilities, we look forward to corrective measures by the Afghan government and the enforcement of the government’s recommendations in response to the January UNAMA detentions report.  The report underscores the importance of an inclusive peace process.  We encourage the Government of Afghanistan to ensure that civil society plays an integral role in the peace process, and that women and minorities are included in this process.  We also encourage Afghanistan to ensure that persons receive political appointments based on merit, and to continue work to improve the economic, social and political status of women and girls, including through the implementation of the Supreme Court’s instruction that “running away” from home to escape domestic violence is not a crime and should not be prosecuted.

Finally, we call attention to the report on Guinea, which notes the continued use of excessive and often deadly force against demonstrators, despite the government’s efforts to implement its UPR recommendation to end these violations.  The report also calls attention to the upsurge of protests arising from the current political situation, which has led to further violence between supporters of the government and opposition.