An official website of the United States government

Debate on Resolution on Civil Society Space
September 26, 2014

Debate on Resolution on Civil Society Space
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council – 27th Session
September 26, 2014


Thank you, Mr. President,

The United States is proud to co-sponsor the Human Rights Council’s second resolution on creating and maintaining, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment for civil society.  This timely resolution underscores the important role civil society plays both in the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, and in providing expertise and advocacy within the UN system.  It acknowledges that strong, vibrant civil societies are critical to having strong, successful countries. It acknowledges that  governments are more responsive and effective when citizens are free to organize and work together across borders.  We recognize the importance of states’ commitments to creating an enabling environment for civil society and encourage all states to work together and with relevant regional, UN, and civil society mechanisms in this effort.

The United States thanks Ireland and the other core group members – Chile, Japan, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia – for the open and transparent negotiations they facilitated, and notes the spirit of flexibility and compromise that the core group demonstrated in those negotiations.

The United States regrets the decision by some states not to negotiate in good faith.

Mr. President, it is important that we rebut the erroneous narrative that some delegations have put forward, claiming that the process of negotiating this resolution was somehow irregular or unfair.  That could not be further from the truth.

In fact, the process of negotiations led by the core group has been extremely open and transparent.  They held some ten hours of informals in which dozens of states participated. It took some three meetings just to read through the text one time.

After tabling, the sponsors continued to engage in broad consultations and willingness to make amendments to the text.  The process was open and balanced.

We will not allow the inaccurate narrative to be used to undermine the work and credibility of this Council.

For all the reasons we have stated, the United States will oppose the amendments before us today and vote in favor of the text.  We urge all Council members to do the same. Thank you, Mr. President.