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Protection of Human Rights while Countering Terrorism
June 22, 2015

U.S. Statement on the Promoting and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism
Delivered by Divya Khosla
29th Session of the Human Rights Council
June 22, 2015

Mr. President,

The United States thanks the Special Rapporteur for his recent report that points out how the actions of ISIL have grossly and systematically abused the human rights of individuals on a vast scale.

As the report notes, individuals who reside in ISIL-controlled territories live in a state of unimaginable fear.  The report notes that ISIL has committed acts of violence in Iraq and Syria because of individuals’ affiliation, real or perceived, with religious and ethnic groups.  The list of ISIL’s atrocities in Iraq and Syria includes mass killing, abduction, forced conversion, torture, and rape and sexual assault.

The United States appreciates the substantial actions taken by the Government of Iraq to halt ISIL’s campaign of brutality.  We continue to support the military operations to purge ISIL from these areas and to stop further abuses from occurring.  We also abhor the violence perpetuated by the Asad regime in Syria, and call upon the regime forces to respect the human rights of all individuals in Syria.  Indeed, states can help prevent violent extremism by fulfilling their responsibility to promote and protect human rights.

We are pleased that the Special Rapporteur referred to the Security Council’s “decisive action” to address foreign terrorist fighters, including those with ISIL.  We agree strongly that the measures in resolution 2178 should be applied only to those who meet the resolution’s criteria and must not be used to justify repression against political dissenters.

We regret the short time frame that we had to review the report, which has unfortunately prevented us from delivering a more detailed reaction, particularly regarding aspects of the report with which we may not agree.

Do you have any other recommendations for steps that the international community can take to immediately protect individuals residing in ISIL-controlled territories from further harm by ISIL?