U.S. Looks Forward to Productive 27th Session of the Human Rights Council

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper

UN Human Rights Council – Organizational Meeting
August 25, 2014

Thank you, Mr. President,

The United States would like to make a comment about the proposal to limit speaking times. We understand that HRC-27 involves extenuating circumstances – 10 panels and loss of one of the session’s days due to a Swiss holiday. As a result, it is important that the President has said this change is being done on a trial basis and does not represent a precedent.

We do have practical concerns about the impact of the trial rules. We will share these concerns in writing at a later date. For example, it may prove difficult to prepare, in coordination with a delegation’s capital, effective interventions of appropriate length given changing time limits.

And, if speaking time is shortened too much, it may prove difficult for delegations or NGOs to engage substantively and meaningfully on the issues of a given interactive dialogue.

Finally, the problem that exists is one created by having too many panels in this session. A solution that takes time away from Interactive Dialogues is a solution that does not address the cause of the problem.

As a result, my delegation will not object to this trial solution for the 27th session. But it should not form a precedent. Going forward, we should explore options for addressing time management other than changing the established rules regarding time limits on interventions.

The United States intends to table a resolution on the human rights situation in Sudan. We believe there is a need to significantly strengthen the Council’s response to the human rights conditions on the ground and to respond effectively to the report of the Independent Expert, who has announced his resignation. Unfortunately, the government of Sudan’s response has been to say that the current Item 10 resolution is inappropriate and to call for an end to the consideration of Sudan under this Council’s special procedures. This is not an answer to the deteriorating human rights situation. As a result, we hope to see a stronger resolution on Sudan adopted to reflect the aerial bombardment of civilians, the killing of peaceful protesters during last year’s HRC session, and other serious human rights situations. We look forward to working with the Africa group and other delegations to this end.

Additionally, the United States plans to host a side event entitled Elder Abuse and Violence Against Women: A Global Human Rights Crisis on September 12 from 12 to 2, in Room XXIV.

This event will provide a unique opportunity to shed light on the problem of elder abuse across nations, and in particular raise awareness of the unique impact on older women’s health and well-being. Speakers will include senior officials from the US government, the WHO, civil society, and the UN Human Rights Council.

We look forward to a productive 27th session of the Human Rights Council and to working collaboratively with member states.

Thank you

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