Clustered Interactive Dialogue on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Statement by Eric Richardson
UN Human Rights Council – 25th Session
March 10, 2014
Thank you, Mr. President.
Human Rights Defenders
The United States thanks the Special Rapporteur for her work on human rights defenders throughout her tenure and welcomes this most recent report.
We share the Special Rapporteur’s concerns highlighted in her report, including those regarding laws that restrict the activities of human rights defenders and stigmatization of women human rights defenders. We welcome the report’s constructive catalogue of policies and practices that are important in ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders. In your experience as Special Rapporteur, what are the most effective means of providing technical assistance to states for the purpose of ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders?
The United States commends the Special Rapporteur for her use of communications to states to raise important cases of concern and to react to legislative developments that may negatively impact the situation of human rights defenders. In addition to communications to states and public statements highlighting particular issues of concern, what other tools are effective in enabling Special Procedures to carry out their mandates and to follow up on their recommendations to states?
We thank both Special Rapporteurs for their call, last week, for investigation into allegations of arbitrary detentions and use of violence, including against journalists, by the government of Venezuela. Can you elaborate on those concerns?
The United States thanks the Special Rapporteur for his ongoing work on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. We appreciate the detailed discussion regarding the exclusionary rule and its application in judicial and other proceedings as it relates to upholding the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. We are reviewing the report and its recommendations carefully.
The United States is interested in the Special Rapporteur’s observations regarding the issue of torture suffered by human rights defenders, political prisoners and other prisoners of conscience. Does the Special Rapporteur see this trend worsening in any particular regions or countries? What are some of the tools that the international community can use to address this issue?