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Item 2 General Debate – Report of the High Commissioner
March 25, 2015

Statement as delivered by Kim D’Auria-Vazira,
Delegation of the United States of America

28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

March 25, 2015

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s recent attacks on Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria and its ongoing abuses against Iraqi and Syrian civilians of all faiths and backgrounds.  The international community stands united and undeterred in its resolve to bring an end to ISIL’s depravity.  We support the continued reporting by OHCHR, the Syria Commission of Inquiry, and others to gather, analyze, secure, and preserve evidence of the crimes committed by ISIL.  These efforts are critical so that once ISIL is defeated, we can hold accountable those who have committed heinous crimes and that we can foster truth and reconciliation for the innocent people in Iraq and Syria who have suffered at the hands of these criminals.

In the Central African Republic, we deplore reported violations and abuses.  These include arbitrary and unlawful killings; enforced disappearances and torture, including rape; the unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers; seizure and destruction of property; and forced displacement.  We especially condemn such abuses committed by armed groups against civilians.  We urge the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, and the Central African Republic transitional authorities to continue their efforts to protect civilians and ensure respect for human rights.  We join the CAR authorities and the people of CAR, alongside the rest of the international community, in their firm resolve to bring the era of impunity to an end in CAR.  Perpetrators must face justice for their crimes.

We welcome OHCHR’s leadership on sexual orientation and gender identity issues, especially in The Gambia, where we are concerned by recent legislation which defines a crime of so-called “aggravated homosexuality.”  This raises serious concerns about the human rights of LGBT persons in that nation.

We also welcome the OHCHR’s leadership on Malaysia.  The United States followed the trial of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim closely.  Malaysia’s problematic laws on sodomy were used as a vehicle for his political persecution.  We were disappointed and concerned by the rejection of his final appeal and conviction, and also about the detention of Nurul Izzah, an opposition member of Parliament, for remarks she made about the conviction.  The United States is also concerned with the use of the Sedition Act to restrict freedom of expression and target the opposition, and with Prime Minister Najib’s change of decision not to pursue the repeal of this law.

We look forward to continuing to work closely with the High Commissioner on these issues, among many others.

Thank you Mister President.