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Ambassador Harper: Achieving the SDGs Requires Respecting the Dignity and Well-being of Everyone
February 29, 2016



High-level Panel discussion on Human Rights Mainstreaming:
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and human rights, with an emphasis on the right to development

 31st Session of the Human Rights Council

As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

March 1, 2016

Geneva, Switzerland


Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

The United States reaffirms our long-standing commitment to international development and the promotion of human rights. During the Obama Administration, the United States has committed and helped mobilize more than $100 billion to promote development and save lives around the world. The United States is dedicated to incorporating human rights in its development strategies as a lever to promote inclusion and dignity for all. We do so by reviewing country and regional development challenges and needs across sectors, alongside the relevant rights issues that may impede development.

Achieving the SDGs requires respecting the dignity and well-being of everyone, and truly sustainable development depends on accountable governments that respect human rights, provide access to justice, and follow the rule of law.

By applying these basic principles, the Council can play a valuable role in achieving implementation of the SDGs. For instance, the Council’s work on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association can help promote public participation in sustainable development projects. We encourage Special Rapporteur Kiai, the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment to consider these issues more fully.

This Council also should continue to reaffirm – without qualification – the importance of sexual and reproductive rights. And it must stay focused on protecting the universal human rights of members of vulnerable groups, including indigenous persons; LGBTI individuals; women and girls; persons with disabilities; and older persons. The Universal Periodic Review can also enable states to show how they put human rights at the core of their development policies and initiatives.

Thank you Mr. Vice President.