Item 3: General Debate
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
33rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
September 16, 2016
Thank you, Mr. President.
We have seen time and time again the benefits of active political participation, including greater economic prosperity, societal innovation, and ethnic and religious harmony.
Political participation by everyone in our communities serves as the greatest defense against extremism and radicalization. This is because it gives all people the opportunity to express their views, pursue their ambitions, and raise their grievances peacefully. The ideals of democracy are realized in the determination and the passion that communities bring to the defense of liberty, justice, and dignity around the world.
We remain concerned by increased restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly in the context of those transitions where governments restrict activism and attack civil society organizations with impunity. We urge states to respect the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression including in the context of elections.
Enhancing public participation across economic, political, and social spheres, and from the local to international level, is critical to advancing human rights. The United States again affirms the right of all people to participate in political and public life, including women, members of minority groups and persons with disabilities, and we are committed to taking transformative and impactful action to reach this goal.