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Item 10 Statement: Focus on Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka, Yemen
September 26, 2013

Item 10

U.S. Statement, September 25, 2013
As Delivered by
Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe

September 26, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

The United States commends OHCHR and countries that are cooperating with it on the protection of human rights.

We thank the Deputy High Commissioner for the update on Sri Lanka.

The United States congratulates the people of Sri Lanka on their successful elections in three provinces, and we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to work constructively with the provincial councils and uphold its commitment to devolution of powers.

We echo the High Commissioner’s concerns, in particular regarding restrictions on freedom of expression, attacks on human rights defenders and journalists, and interference with the judiciary.  We also share the High Commissioner’s concerns regarding  increasing violence and discrimination against religious minorities, the climate of impunity for human rights and humanitarian law violations, and restrictions on peaceful assembly and association, including the shootings of unarmed protesters in Weliweriya.

We note the High Commissioner’s assessment that, absent meaningful progress on accountability calls for an international inquiry will persist.  We call on the Government to implement Council resolutions 19/2 and 22/1, including implementing the constructive recommendations of the LLRC report and conducting an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law.

We acknowledge the Government of Sri Lanka’s cooperation in hosting the High Commissioner’s visit, and encourage the Government to set dates for visits by all relevant UN special procedures mandate holders.  We also encourage the Government to accept offers of technical assistance from the OHCHR.

We thank the High Commissioner for her report on the situation of human rights in Yemen, and congratulate Yemen and OHCHR for their exemplary cooperative relationship.

The United States continues to stand by the Yemeni people as they move forward with a historic political transition.

We welcome the ongoing discussions about human rights issues through the National Dialogue and political transition.  However, we remain concerned about accountability for past abuses under the former regime, and about the threat to freedom of expression in Yemen, especially incidents involving intimidation and violence against journalists by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula and by former regime elements.  We are also concerned about child protection, including early and forced marriage and child soldiers.  We encourage the Government to take swift action to ban early and forced marriage and to continue its efforts to address the unlawful use of children in the armed forces.

The United States encourages countries, particularly those in transition, to be open to and cooperate with Council and OHCHR assistance, through mandates or country offices.

Thank you.