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Ambassador Harper: General Statement at the Conclusion of the Human Rights Council
July 8, 2016

General Statement

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

32nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 30, 2016

We congratulate the Council on the creation of an Independent Expert to address violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  We believe this mechanism is a key step forward to address this important human rights issue. 

We are disappointed that several hostile amendments to the preambular section of the resolution were adopted.  Some blatantly politicized this resolution by introducing unrelated elements, and others sought to undermine the universality of human rights.  However, we remain steadfast in our support and co-sponsorship for the resolution, despite these unfortunate changes.

We are also disappointed that one delegation – after failing to properly or timely object to certain mandate holders during the President’s extensive consultative process – decided to spend hours holding the Council hostage with repetitive and illogical assertions and arguments.

The United States strongly supports the resolutions passed to promote and protect the human rights of women.  We are pleased by the 101 co-sponsors for the women and nationality resolution.

In addition, we are pleased that the resolution on violence against women will – for the first time – focus on violence against indigenous women and girls.

We are pleased that the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on Belarus and Eritrea have been extended. We welcome continuation of the work of the COI on Syria.

We encourage these countries to show political will to address the widespread and systematic violations and abuses of human rights in their countries and cooperate with this body.

We are also gratified by the mandate renewal for the Special Rapporteur for the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and we strongly support the resolution on the pivotal role of civil society.

We regret that the resolution on the family ignores the reality that various forms of family structures – among them families headed by a mother and father, a single parent, a same-sex couple, or grandparents – are capable of providing protective, nurturing environments for raising children.

We note that Council resolutions do not change the current state of conventional or customary international law nor create new legal obligations.   The United States understands that any reaffirmation of prior documents in these resolutions applies only to those states that affirmed them initially.

We underscore that access to medicines is a complex and multi-faceted challenge and we reject implications of policy incoherence in access to medicines, trade, IP, and human rights.


(end statement)