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Ambassador Harper: Statement on HRC Item 4 – Human Rights Situations Requiring Council Attention
September 19, 2016

Item 4:  General Debate on Human Rights Situations
Requiring Council Attention
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper

Human Rights Council 33rd Session
September 19, 2016

Mr. President,

The United States remains deeply concerned about the human rights situations in Syria, Burundi, South Sudan, and the DRC which we will address in more detail elsewhere during this session.

We remain concerned by reports of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and forced labor in the DPRK.

In Egypt, human rights organizations face closing political space and many Egyptians, including peaceful activists and opposition members, have been subjected to arrests, prolonged detention, and disappearances.  We support Egypt’s efforts to combat the serious threat it faces from terrorism, but we believe that long-term stability benefits from allowing for peaceful dissent.

We are deeply concerned about China’s narrowing of space for civil society and excessive government controls on religious practices.

We urge Cuba to immediately stop arbitrarily detaining peaceful activists and using violence, at times, to carry out that harassment.

The United States joins the international community in calling upon the Venezuelan government to engage in a national, inclusive, and effective political dialogue to address the urgent needs of the Venezuelan people.  The government should free all political prisoners, such as Leopoldo Lopez, and respect the will of the people and hold a fair and timely recall referendum.

We are concerned by arbitrary detentions, excessive sentences, and prison conditions Iran imposes on human rights defenders, minorities, and other prisoners of conscience.  We call on the government to release these prisoners without delay and admit the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We are troubled by the continuing crackdown on civil society and those who express dissenting views in Russia.

We remain deeply concerned by reports of deaths and torture in custody of opposition figures in the Gambia.

We remain concerned about the human rights situations in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.  We call for a peaceful, transparent, and democratic transition of power in Uzbekistan.


(end statement)