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U.S. Statement on Summary Execution and Discrimination against Women
June 19, 2015

HRC 29: U.S Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the SR on Summary Execution and the Working Group on Discrimination against Women
Delivered by Kara Eyrich
June 19, 2015

(Summary Execution)

The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns for his report on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions.  The report raises interesting questions on the use of information technology in relation to the protection of human rights.  The United States also wishes to express appreciation to the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.  Their report makes thought provoking observations on the intersection of culture, religion, law, and ingrained gender discrimination.  My government looks forward to the Working Group’s planned visit to the United States this autumn.

My country has had considerable recent experience with communication technology and the use of force in interactions between police and the public.  Video recorded by the public has brought to light some incidents and, perhaps, systematic problems that might otherwise have gone unremarked.  Spurred by recent cases, many local governments are now considering a requirement for police to wear body cameras.  Body-worn cameras may enhance transparency, promote accountability, and advance public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.  However, they are not a solution to all problems and raise other concerns.  Some of those concerns are noted in your report.

When a state has video from body cameras, closed circuit, and overhead surveillance, there may well be questions of personal privacy.  When should states make such footage releasable to the public?  Would it make a difference if police/public interactions occurred in a public place versus a private home or business?  Should police be required to provide affirmative warning to the public that they are being recorded?

(Discrimination Against Women)

The Working Group’s report notes that culture and religion are often invoked to justify discrimination against women and girls.  The United States strongly agrees that “women have often been viewed as objects rather than as equal participants with men in the creation and manifestation of cultural principles.”  There is no cultural norm or religious principle that can legitimately be invoked to justify dehumanizing practices.

What are some best practices that States can use to promote an understanding of women as equal participants in society?