U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
July 6, 2016
Although the United States is not a voting member of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) this year – taking a mandatory year off, while standing for re-election in the fall – it is sustaining robust engagement with the Council, working with countries from all regions to address urgent human rights situations and issues. At this session, focusing on women’s rights, U.S. leadership helped to keep the HRC at the forefront of global efforts to promote and protect human rights.
LGBT: The HRC took a decisive and historic step in creating an Independent Expert on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This new mandate will ensure regular UN reporting to the HRC and UN General Assembly on LGBT issues, and will create a focal point to monitor the situation of LGBT persons globally and provide technical assistance and best practices for countries to improve the human rights situation of members of the LGBT community. The United States is disappointed that several hostile amendments to the resolution were adopted, but remains steadfast in our support for the resolution and its goals, despite these unfortunate changes.
Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association: Concerned by increasing threats to the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, the United States led a resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on these freedoms for a period of three years. In addition to the mandate renewal, this year’s resolution highlighted the importance of professional associations in this regard.
Women and Loss of Nationality: The United States and a core group introduced a resolution on Women’s Equal Nationality Rights in Law and in Practice, with more than 100 cosigners at the time of adoption. This resolution highlights the importance of eliminating discrimination against women in their ability to confer nationality to their spouses and children. This discrimination persists in over 60 countries in every region of the world, and increases the risk of statelessness.
Country Resolutions: The HRC took important action to ensure that country situations around the world remain on the agenda of the Council. The Council voted to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus, who has been reporting on serious human rights concerns in that country since 2012. In addition, the Council renewed its quarterly updates on the situation in Ukraine, where the government is cooperating with the UN to improve human rights and to monitor the continued degradation of the situation in Crimea and separatist-controlled areas in the east of the country. The HRC once again condemned the grave situation in Syria and heard another report from the Commission of Inquiry. The Council also renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea and took note of a report by the Eritrea Commission of Inquiry report.
Internet Freedom: As part of a core group, the United States supported a resolution endorsing internet freedom and condemning measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law.
Women’s Rights: The United States cosponsored resolutions on eliminating discrimination and violence against women; the right of girls to education; trafficking in persons, with an emphasis on women and children; and on the elimination of female genital mutilation.
Civil Society Space: The United States cosponsored the Irish-led text on civil society space, which advances the Council’s ongoing discussion on protecting civil society space as a means to promote the enjoyment of human rights.
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