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Item 4: General Debate on Human Rights Situations Requiring Council Attention
June 22, 2016

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council 32nd Session
June 22, 2016

Mr. President,

The United States remains deeply concerned about the human rights situations in Syria, Burundi, South Sudan, DPRK, and Russia, which we address in more detail elsewhere during this session.

We are also deeply concerned that China’s new Law on the Management of Foreign NGO Activities will further narrow space for civil society and about excessive government controls on religious practices, especially those affecting Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, and Christians.

Egypt increasingly restricts the exercise of freedoms of expression and association, including through new investigations of human rights organizations and arrests of peaceful activists.  We strongly support Egypt’s efforts to confront the threat of terrorism and surmount economic challenges, but long-term peace and stability require trust, accountability, and avenues for peaceful dissent.

We are deeply concerned about the growing threat of mass atrocities in the DRC amid reports of increased abuse and growing intimidation, harassment, and detention of the opposition and civil society. We call on the government to hold timely and credible elections in accordance with its constitution.

We urge Cuba to end the practice of arbitrary short term detention – a practice that independent civil society groups are documenting in record high numbers so far this year – and respect freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and religion.

The United States joins the international community in calling upon the Venezuelan government to free all political prisoners, and to respect the will of the people, the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the democratic process.

We remain concerned by excessive sentences and miserable prison conditions Iran imposes on human rights defenders, religious minorities such as Bahais, and other political prisoners.  We call on the government to release these prisoners and admit the UN Special Rapporteur for a country visit.


(end statement)