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Ambassador Harper: Statement at the General Debate with the High Commissioner
September 14, 2016

Item 2: General Debate with the High Commissioner
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Keith Harper
UN Human Rights Council 33rd Session
September 13, 2016

Mr. President,

We welcome cooperation with the High Commissioner and highlight our candidacy for election to the Council.

In Yemen, we are concerned by the continued loss of life, damage to civilian infrastructure, and disruption of humanitarian assistance as a result of the conflict. We call on all parties to the conflict to heed the High Commissioner’s recommendations in his report to cease hostilities and reach a negotiated and durable solution.

We are also concerned by steps taken by the Government of Bahrain, including restrictions on activists’ travel to and participation in the HRC, which raise concerns about respect for freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly. We call on the Government to reverse these measures.

We look forward to the High Commissioner’s March report detailing Sri Lanka’s progress and remaining work on justice, accountability, and reconciliation. We welcome the legislation establishing the Office of Missing Persons.

Welcoming the recent release of Natig Jafarli, we urge Azerbaijan to free other democracy and human rights activists and allow open pre-referendum debate.
In Turkey, we condemn the coup attempt, which killed 265 innocent persons. We support Turkey’s efforts to bring to justice those involved in the coup attempt in accordance with the rule of law and with assurances of a fair and independent judicial process. We welcome Turkey’s recent public commitments to ensure transparency in this process. In this light, we ask Turkey to ensure any allegations of detainee mistreatment are fully and fairly investigated and ask Turkey to continue to grant access to independent monitors.

In Thailand, we encourage the government to lift restrictions on civil liberties, particularly freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

(end statement)