An official website of the United States government

Ambassador Harper speaks at HRC discussion on technical cooperation
September 25, 2014

Item 10 General Debate – Technical Cooperation
Statement by the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
27th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
September 24, 2014


Thank you, Madame Vice-President.

The United States thanks OHCHR and the Special Procedures of this Council for their tireless work around the world.  In many places, further engagement with these mechanisms can go a long way to improving human rights.

In Bahrain, we welcome the visit of an OHCHR technical team earlier this year, but are disappointed that Special Rapporteur Mendez’s visit has yet to be rescheduled.

We believe that deeper engagement with OHCHR can help this organization play an important role in working with the Bahraini government in its efforts to improve the human rights situation in Bahrain.

We welcome the recent report by Bahrain’s National Institute for Human Rights.  We share its concern about stripping citizenship, and we echo its calls for continued and rigorous investigation of torture and abuse allegations, and for continuing reforms.

We also remain concerned about the detention and threat of arrest of political activists as well those imprisoned for exercising their right to free speech.

In the interest of a strong and peaceful Bahrain we urge a sustained effort and willingness by all sides to compromise and to achieve real progress in the political and reform process.

Similarly, we call on Egypt to re-engage with OHCHR on the long delayed Memorandum of Understanding to open OHCHR’s North Africa Regional Office in Cairo.

In Thailand, martial law remains in place nearly four months after a coup d’etat.

The interim government has placed restrictions on freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly and banned criticism of the National Council for Peace and Order.  It has planned military trials to prosecute some opponents and other civilians.

We urge the interim government to immediately lift martial law, fully restore civil liberties, and ensure that reform processes are inclusive.  We also urge it to facilitate a return to democracy through free and fair elections.

We call on the Thai authorities to work closely with OHCHR and relevant special procedures in taking these actions.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, we are concerned that the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate.

We urge the DRC to work closely with OHCHR.  Further, we call upon the DRC to be transparent in its process of investigating human rights violations committed during the 2011 elections.

We call upon the DRC to reach consensus with all stakeholders, including the political opposition and civil society, with regard to future elections.

We commend Yemen on its continued engagement with this Council and OHCHR.  Yemen continues to face many challenges for which continued assistance can help.  Engagement with the UN’s human rights mechanisms shows Yemen’s commitment to improve the situation on the ground.

We encourage all parties in the Central African Republic to refrain from violence and to engage with OHCHR in fulfilling both a durable peace and the respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Thank you Madame Vice-President.