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U.S. Statement at the HRC Item 3 General Debate
March 11, 2016

Item 3: General Debate

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

31st Session of the Human Rights Council
March 21, 2016

Thank you, Mr. President.

This year, and every four years, as we engage in a presidential election, we in the United States are reminded of the essential role of genuine, periodic elections that are free and fair.  We are reminded of the importance of peaceful transition of power.

As we have seen the world over, countries at all stages of democratization are using periodic and genuine elections as a peaceful means of expressing the will of the people. Periodic and genuine elections build confidence in representational governance and contribute to greater national and regional peace and stability.

We reiterate our appreciation for the Electoral Assistance Division of the Department of Political Affairs, which provides important assistance to requesting states.  We also appreciate the widespread support for our resolution at UNGA 70 on the role of elections in democratization.

We remain concerned about non-peaceful transitions of power as well as countries where the basis of government authority is not rooted in the free expression of the will of the people.  All states must uphold the right to choose representatives freely through periodic and genuine elections as a cornerstone of the UDHR and their relevant international obligations.

We urge states to respect the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression generally and in the context of elections.  And we affirm that women, on an equal basis with men, and persons with disabilities should have the ability to effectively and fully participate in political and public life.

Thank you.