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Ambassador Harper’s Statement at the HRC Item 3 General Debate
June 20, 2016

Item 3: General Debate
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 20, 2016

Thank you, Mr. President.

As we have seen the world over, countries of all stages of democratization are using periodic and genuine elections as a peaceful means of guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the people.

However, democratic progress demands the equal opportunity of all citizens to participate in political processes through the exercise of the freedom of peaceful assembly and association. We are distressed by the increased restrictions on these fundamental freedoms generally and in the context of those transitions where governments restrict activism and attack civil society organizations with impunity.

We are deeply concerned the Nicaraguan government has not yet invited an international electoral observation mission. Electoral observation is a best practice worldwide, as well as in the United States, that safeguards democracy and protects citizens’ rights, as well as civil society.

We remind all states that periodic and genuine elections, along with a robust civil society, build confidence in representational governance and contribute to greater peace and stability.