General Debate on Item 10
UN Human Rights Council – 23rd Session
As Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe.
June 12, 2013
Thank you Mr. President.
The United States has spoken several times during Item 10 debates about the capacity of technical cooperation to assist states, especially those in transition, to improve the lives of their citizens. While Item 10 is billed as a technical cooperation and capacity building element in our Council’s agenda, it is more than that. Item 10 provides countries who ask for it much needed expertise in the area of the promotion of human rights, especially on how countries can build the institutions needed to protect those rights. Time and again we have seen how countries have benefitted from the mandates established under this agenda item or the reports prepared by OHCHR. To that end we would like to highlight some examples.
Somalia and its officials have demonstrated leadership here at the Council, and throughout the UN system. They should be praised by the international community for seeking out every opportunity to bring stability and human rights protections to their people. The Somali nation has survived many difficult days of chaos and fighting that followed the fall of the Siad Barre regime. Today, Somalia has a new government forged from the 2011 Roadmap to End the Transition. The United States recognized the Government of Somalia for the first time in 22 years in January of this year. The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia has been dramatically reduced over the past ten months. Somalia still faces a number of challenges and there is more work to be done, but it will not be alone. The international community, including the United States, will be there to help.
Other nations throughout the world are also seeking assistance in facing internal challenges through the operations of OHCHR offices in their country. For example, Colombia, Tunisia, and Yemen are working with the offices in their nations to expand the ability of all citizens to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide prevention and protection mechanisms.
We encourage countries in transition, such as South Sudan, Burma, and others, to be open to Council and OHCHR assistance through mandates or country offices. These mechanisms provide valuable human and material resources and knowledge that will assist governments to successfully lead their people through turbulent times of transitions.