Item 2: General Debate
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council 26th Session
Geneva, June 10, 2014
As Prepared for Delivery
Ambassador Keith Harper
Thank you Mr. President. The United States would like to use this opportunity to publicly thank High Commissioner Pillay for her outstanding leadership of OHCHR. Under her dedicated direction these past six years, OHCHR achieved numerous breakthroughs on critical human rights issues. From the establishment of Commissions of Inquiry on the DPRK and Syria, to unfailing efforts to investigate human rights violations and abuses in Sri Lanka. And from focusing worldwide attention on the need to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to expanding OHCHR’s outreach on social media.
Through it all, the High Commissioner displayed tremendous acumen in bringing together the diverse views of the members of the Human Rights Council. She worked hard to ensure that we never forgot why we are gathered here now and at every session: to promote respect for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
Today the United States reiterates its commitment to working with Ukraine’s new president, and the rest of the international community, to support the people of Ukraine’s aspirations for an independent, prosperous and democratic Ukraine, including Crimea.
Despite the broad endorsement for peace that the large turnout for the May 25th elections conveyed, challenges remain. The Government of Ukraine has shown restraint in the face of unacceptable foreign interference and threats to its territory, including threats that prevent the enjoyment of human rights. We are confident the Ukrainian authorities will continue to maintain a measured approach throughout its territory. We specifically remain gravely concerned about the situation in occupied Crimea, where there has been a broad crackdown on the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression, along with discriminatory actions against members of the Crimean Tatar population.
We thank the High Commissioner for her work in organizing the OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka. This investigation signals the importance of promoting justice, accountability and reconciliation. We urge the Sri Lankan government to cooperate fully with the investigation, including granting access to investigators, and preventing retaliation against those who provide information to the High Commissioner’s Office.
We appreciate the High Commissioner’s continued attention to human rights in Egypt, particularly her drawing attention to the mass sentencing of 1,212 Egyptians in two trials in March and April, with hundreds sentenced to death and the rest life imprisonment. This deprivation of due process rights will only exacerbate the extremism, radicalization, and instability that Egypt says it wants to solve.
In Nigeria, the United States deplores Boko Haram’s kidnapping more than 200 innocent schoolgirls. We will continue to support the Government of Nigeria’s efforts to locate and safely free them, and to hold the kidnappers accountable.
(Central African Republic)
Turning to the Central African Republic, we reiterate our deep concern regarding the continued attacks against both Muslims and Christians, which have displaced hundreds of thousands. We applaud the work of the Independent Expert and urge the transitional government to continue to work to re-establish security and stability throughout the country and to bring to justice those responsible for abuses.