Item 4: General Debate on Human Rights Situations Requiring Council Attention
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by David Sullivan
Geneva, September 16, 2014
The United States is appalled by the horrific violations and abuses committed in Syria.
In Iran, we are concerned about ongoing severe restrictions on freedom of expression as well as serious violations of due process.
The United States also remains deeply concerned about deplorable human rights situations in, but not limited to, the DPRK, Sudan and South Sudan.
The Cuban government continues its practice of arbitrary, and at times violent, short term detentions, particularly in Eastern Cuba, to silence peaceful assembly and expression.
We continue to call for the immediate release of Alan Gross, who remains detained after nearly five years for facilitating access to the Internet.
China has increased arrests, forced disappearances, and arbitrary detentions of those peacefully challenging official policies and actions, including Ilham Tohti, Xu Zhiyong, Pu Zhiqiang, and Zhang Shaojie.
China has restricted the freedom of movement of released prisoners of conscience Gao Zhisheng and Dhondup Wangchen.
The government has tightened control on expression and religious freedom, and has continued its repressive policies in Tibetan and Uighur areas.
In Venezuela, the government jeopardizes freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly and association.
It shows utter disregard for human rights through continued use of arbitrary detention, documented torture, and abuse of detainees.
In Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, we are concerned by harsh restrictions on freedoms of religion, expression and other fundamental freedoms and pressure on independent civil society, opposition, and media.
In particular, torture and politically motivated imprisonment of human rights activists and peaceful religious adherents are ongoing problems.
The United States also calls the Council’s urgent attention to recent negative developments in several places.
In Egypt, we are deeply concerned by the deprivation of citizens’ fair trial guarantees through unfair mass detentions, trials, and death sentences.
The lack of any government accountability for the deaths of over 800 persons killed during security force dispersals of sit-ins in August 2013 also is deeply concerning.
Russia has increased its efforts to suppress dissent and restrict the media, often in apparent response to domestic criticism of its actions in Ukraine.
Since June, the Ministry of Justice has unilaterally registered 14 human rights NGOs as “foreign agents,” deepening concerns about freedom of association.
Under the Russian occupation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, those opposed to the occupation and members of minority religious and ethnic groups such as Crimean Tatars are consistently subjected to threats and attacks.