Statement delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper,
Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council
HRC Organizational Meeting,
February 16, 2015
Thank you Mr. President.
The United States supports the consensus decision taken today by the Human Rights Council on the OHCHR’s report on Sri Lanka.
We commend the pledges made – and initial steps taken – by the new Sri Lankan government to revive Sri Lanka’s democracy, improve governance, support credible justice and accountability mechanisms, enhance the protection of human rights, and facilitate reconciliation after nearly 30 years of war.
As Secretary Kerry said in Washington on February 12, the people of Sri Lanka voted to move Sri Lanka in a new direction. We encourage the Sri Lankan Government to use the time between now and the release of the report to work jointly with OHCHR to achieve these shared goals, and – when the report is released – to duly consider the recommendations contained therein.
As a main sponsor of resolution 25/1, the United States believes in the importance of the work that the High Commissioner and his team have undertaken. We very much look forward to the publication of OHCHR’s report later this year. When the Council provided this mandate to OHCHR, we entrusted the High Commissioner to discharge it faithfully.
The United States continues to trust in the High Commissioner in this regard. We are willing to be guided by his judgment as to how to best fulfill this mandate.
We joined this consensus decision to extend the time to release the OHCHR report based on the reasons that the High Commissioner offered. We hope that new information becomes available that will enable the report to provide the Council and the people of Sri Lanka a more complete picture of what occurred.
Mr. President, procedurally, we are grateful for the manner in which you and your Bureau have discharged your duties, and for the notification you provided to states ahead of this decision.
We believe that both you and the High Commissioner have conducted your work in a manner that will ensure preservation and respect for both the independence of OHCHR and the authority of the Human Rights Council and its member states.
Finally, I would like to reaffirm that the United States government is steadfast in our commitment to ensuring accountability, justice, reconciliation, and respect for human rights for all the people of Sri Lanka.
We are confident that the efforts here in Geneva will enable the international community and the Government of Sri Lanka to work together to realize these shared objectives.
Thank you Mr. President.