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Ambassador Harper: Statement at the General Debate on the Vienna Declaration & Programme of Action
September 26, 2016

Item 8:  General Debate on the Vienna Declaration & Programme of Action 

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Ambassador Harper

33rd Session of the Human Rights Council

September 26, 2016 

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

The Vienna Declaration calls for democracy, justice, equality, and the rule of law.  The United States is concerned about backsliding on these key principles necessary for the protection and full enjoyment of human rights.

The United States is concerned by the actions of the Nicaraguan government and Supreme Court to limit democratic space in advance of upcoming elections.  We urge the government to create a more open environment for free and fair elections, and to allow opposition political parties to determine membership.  We support Nicaraguan civil society, business leaders, and religious leaders’ efforts to continue to advocate for a strengthening of its democracy.

The United States is concerned by reported extrajudicial killings of individuals suspected of drug activity in the Philippines.  We urge the Philippines to ensure that law enforcement efforts are consistent with its human rights obligations.  We all must fight drugs in a way that is consistent with international law and respect for human rights.

We remain concerned by actions of the Hungarian government since 2010 to centralize executive power, weaken the judiciary, and diminish the autonomy of oversight bodies, the media, religious groups, and civil society.  Independent observers concluded that while the 2014 election was free and well-administered, the governing party enjoyed an undue advantage.  We are dismayed by attempts to honor anti-Semitic figures with memorials and awards.

In Bangladesh, we express condolences over the lives lost to violent extremist attacks.  We are concerned that the law enforcement response has unduly targeted political opposition and media outlets, and note allegations of torture, deaths in custody, and crossfire killings. We call on the Government to pursue justice in a manner consistent with its founding principles and international obligations; protect vulnerable communities; investigate allegations of security force abuses; and cease restrictions on freedom of expression.

Thank you Mr. Vice President.