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Human Rights Council Dialogue with Special Rapporteurs / Item 3
March 11, 2015

Agenda Item 3, Clustered Interactive Dialogue with

Special Rapporteur in the Field of Cultural Rights, Farida Shaheed, and Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio

28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Delivered by Ambassador Keith HarperU.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

March 11, 2015 – Geneva

Cultural Rights

The United States is pleased to have this opportunity to engage with Special Rapporteur Shaheed.

We appreciate the report’s recognition of the importance of copyright in encouraging creativity.  Copyright laws in the United States and other countries foster and promote culture, science, and the arts, for the benefit not only of their creators, but also the general public.  A wide range of academic studies has found that when effective copyright protection exists, creators produce more work.  If society does not provide authors, artists, and performers with sufficient incentives to create – by ensuring meaningful protections for what they create – we diminish not only their economic and other wellbeing, but also that of millions of individuals and businesses that rely on their creativity.  In the end, we diminish the cultural life of our global community.

In the view of the United States, the report does not adequately acknowledge that copyright can serve as a means to promote human rights, including those expressed in Article 27(2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  We also believe that the report should have fully addressed the pressing challenges posed to creators by lack of respect for intellectual property rights and for all individuals’ human rights to freedom of expression.

The United States also does not agree with many of the report’s recommendations and characterizations.  These include ones related to copyright norm-setting activities at experts’ discussions in other international fora and others suggesting that individual creators and corporations or businesses should merit different protections.     

Copyright, science, and culture are critically interconnected, and copyright plays a key role in incentivizing creative and scientific works for the benefit of all.  We look forward to encouraging further in discussions on these important issues.


Madame Special Rapporteur, we would be interested to hear about the approach that you intend to undertake for the second report, planned for this year, involving the connection between human rights and patent policy?

Sale of Children

The United States welcomes this opportunity to engage again with the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The Special Rapporteur’s report focuses on information and communication technologies.  The United States takes a strong stand domestically and internationally against criminal activities related to the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including as they are perpetrated through technology.

We were interested to read the report’s description of some good practices in combatting these forms of exploitation.  We would like to share some promising practices which illustrate how technology can be essential in the fight against human trafficking.  For instance, in partnership with the Government of Norway, the International Organization for Migration used mobile technologies in Uganda to collect information about the protection needs of trafficked children.

[NOTE: The last sentences in the statement – below – could not be read during the session due to HRC time contraints. ]

IOM caseworkers captured the data using smart phones and then sent it to a central database for storage, aggregation, and analysis.  IOM then used it to guide anti-trafficking strategies.  In the United States, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, which administers a toll-free hotline, developed a text-messaging system individuals can use to seek assistance discreetly.


We are grateful that the Special Rapporteur focused her report on new trends in the sale and sexual exploitation of children.  But we are concerned about gaps in addressing hereditary forms of slavery.  Seemingly intractable forms of human trafficking are those that are rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships, such as in Mauritania.  What are the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations in combating this form of slavery, which exploits both children and adults?