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Dialogue with the SR on the Right to Freedom of Expression
June 16, 2016

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Expression and the Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights

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

Human Rights Council Session 32,
June 16, 2016

Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.  The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Kaye for his ongoing work and recent report.

We are deeply concerned by the global decline in freedom of expression and would like to highlight a few countries of concern.  In Egypt, the increase in arbitrary arrest and detention of those who are critical of the government has had a chilling effect on free expression.  We urge the Government of Egypt to ease restrictions on freedoms of association and expression.

With respect to China, we continue to be concerned about the recent passage of sweeping and vaguely-worded laws, such as the National Security Law and Counterterrorism Law, to justify crackdowns on peaceful political expression.  Regulations released in January extend state control to all online news content in China and leave little room for independent journalism or for individual Internet users to express independent views on current events.

We urge Thailand to ensure that freedom of expression is respected consistent with its international obligations and lift any restrictions, including those under its lèse majesté law,  that inhibit an open and inclusive debate on Thailand’s political future, including in advance of the planned August referendum on the draft constitution.

We note the Special Rapporteur’s upcoming trip to Turkey. We encourage him to address Turkeys increasing restrictions on freedom of expression, including for the press, which are deployed through a variety of indirect and direct means such as tax audits, fines, detention and intimidation of journalists.