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U.S. Statement at the HRC Item 2 General Debate / South Sudan / Ukraine
March 6, 2014

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Item 2: General Debate

Paula SchrieferHead of the United States Delegation
25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

We appreciate the reports from Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Simonovic and many senior UN officials who have traveled to South Sudan in the past two months. And we support their message to all South Sudanese on the importance of respecting human rights. The United States is deeply concerned with reports from South Sudan of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, sexual and gender-based violence, enforced disappearances, and torture.

We acknowledge the extraordinary responsibility undertaken by UNMISS to shelter over 70,000 South Sudanese in seven UN compounds. We also appreciate the work of the Human Rights Division of the UN Mission, and thank the Human Rights Officers for their work. We look forward to their next report and recommendations.

Finally, we are pleased to note that Assistant Secretary General Simonovic will be visiting Ukraine in the coming days and look forward to his reporting.

Let me reiterate that our message continues to be that a solution to the Ukraine crisis is not difficult to envision. There is a way out. That is through direct and immediate dialogue by Russia with the Government of Ukraine, the immediate pull-back of Russia’s military forces to their bases, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the urgent deployment of observers and human rights monitors.

We reject Russian justifications for their actions. We have seen no evidence of refugee flows from Ukraine, nor have we seen evidence of attacks or discrimination against ethnic Russians.

If Russia has concerns about the safety of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, the best way to address these is to send an international monitoring mission to Ukraine, either under the UN or OSCE. We therefore call on Russia to support Ukraine’s request for such a monitoring mission in Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine to document the true situation on the ground.