Item 8 General Debate
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
Geneva, June 24, 2014
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Thank you, Mr. President.
When non-state actors employ terrorist means such as kidnappings and hostage-taking to achieve their aims, the threat to the enjoyment of human rights is a threat to us all.
The Vienna Declaration condemns acts of terrorism which constitute serious obstacles to the enjoyment of human rights.
It encourages the international community to take necessary steps to enhance cooperation to prevent and combat acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The VDPA terms these acts: “activities aimed at the destruction of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy, threatening territorial integrity, security of States and destabilizing legitimately constituted Governments.”
The United States is alarmed by several recent incidents in which terrorists have targeted and abducted members of vulnerable groups such as women and children.
The United States condemns the kidnapping of hundreds of school girls in Nigeria by Boko Haram and urges their safe return.
Children should have the opportunity to safely pursue an education and parents should feel their daughters’ are safe in their pursuit of education and not fear that they will be abducted from their school desks or sold off as “brides.”
We fully support the joint statements of the group of female Ambassadors in Geneva, which was read during the April 2014 Universal Periodic Review session and the statement by the UAE which was read earlier in this session of the Council, both of which condemned these cowardly and horrific acts.
The scourge of trafficking in persons is another example of the problems caused by non-state actors which have a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly of women and children.
Whether trafficking victims are subjected to sex trafficking or forced labor, the United States unequivocally condemns this crime.
Finally, we condemn the abduction on June 12 of three Israeli students from the West Bank, and demand their immediate and unconditional release.
We welcome the ongoing cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority to ensure the safe return of these students to their families, and urge all parties to exercise restraint and avoid steps that could destabilize the situation.