Agenda Item 3: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
As prepared for delivery by Ambassador Keith Harper
UN Human Rights Council 33rd Session
September 15, 2016
Thank you Mr. President.
The United States thanks the Working Group and Special Rapporteur for their important work.
The Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances observed in their report a pattern of “short-term” enforced disappearances being used in a number of countries. We share the Working Group’s concern where any such pattern or practice exists.
On August 30, the International Day for the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said: “In too many countries, repressive regimes confronted by citizens trying to hold their leaders accountable will resort to ‘disappearing’ their critics. Some of these disappeared individuals are tortured and held for extended periods. Others are quietly killed with no official record of their deaths, compounding the grief of family and friends who are left to wonder why. The United States calls on countries to remove all obstacles to independent and transparent investigations into these cases so that those who have lost loved ones can finally learn their fate.” Ambassador Rice highlighted U.S. government concerns about enforced disappearances during times of conflict and repression, including in Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe.
The United States welcomes Special Rapporteur Bhoola’s focus on debt bondage in her latest report. We agree that the enactment and enforcement of laws prohibiting debt bondage are urgently needed. We call on governments to enact and implement such laws, as it is the most urgent and critical first step to protect individuals and bring offenders to justice.
The Special Rapporteur highlights the impact the abolition of debt bondage has had in some states. What best practices can the Special Rapporteur share in implementing legal prohibitions of debt bondage?