An official website of the United States government

US Statement on Situations Requiring Council Attention
September 21, 2015

Item 4:  General Debate on Human Rights Situations 
Requiring Council Attention
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Human Rights Council 30th Session
Geneva, September 21, 2015

Ambassador Keith Harper

Mr. President,

The United States is deeply concerned about DPRK, Syria, Sudan and the following deplorable situations:

We have not seen any significant improvement in the human rights situation inside Iran. Crackdowns on journalists and human rights defenders continue, as do executions carried out in a manner contrary to international obligations.  The government also continues to target members of ethnic and religious minorities, along with those with opposing political views.

We urge the leaders of South Sudan to abide by the peace agreement and refrain from hostilities on both sides, or risk perpetuating a brutal conflict that has included killings and abductions of civilians, including children, widespread sexual violence, and the pillaging and burning of homes.  We also condemn the ongoing harassment and violence directed at civil society, humanitarian personnel and journalists.

China has detained nearly 300 lawyers and activists since July; we call for the immediate release of 27 who are still in custody, as well as Ilham Tohti, Shokjang, Zhang Kai, Pu Zhiqiang, Gao Yu and Liu Xiaobo.  Draft NGO and national security laws unreasonably constrict civil society. We urge China to cease undue restrictions on religion in Tibet and Xinjiang and stop church demolitions and cross removals in Zhejiang, which contravene international standards.

We are deeply troubled by Venezuela’s recent efforts to silence political dissent, by banning several opposition politicians from participation in the December 6 parliamentary elections, and by convicting opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez.

We urge Cuba to make good on its commitments to receive special rapporteurs and schedule their visits, respect freedoms of expression and assembly, and end the practice of arbitrary, short-term detention of peaceful activists.

We urge Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to allow domestic and foreign journalists and human rights activists to carry out their important work without fear of persecution.

Egypt increasingly violates freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and we are deeply concerned by the lack of international due process standards and other fair trial safeguards.  We express our deep concern about reports of forced disappearances and deaths of activists and oppositions members while in custody and call upon the authorities to investigate these incidents in a timely and transparent manner.

Russia continues to suppress dissent, restrict independent media, and threaten civil society, including listing 88 NGOs as “foreign agents.”  Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea has led to persecution of its opponents, independent media, and members of minority groups including Crimean Tatars.

In Burma, we continue to be deeply concerned about the situation in Rakhine State, particularly the conditions facing members of the Rohingya population. We urge the government to hold credible, transparent, and inclusive elections in November and continue advancing democratic reforms.

Thank you