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Ambassador Harper: Statement at the General Debate on Technical Assistance & Cooperation
September 29, 2016

Item 10:  General Debate on Technical Assistance & Cooperation

As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council 33rd Session
September 28, 2016

Mr. Vice President,

We note the High Commissioner’s recent report on Yemen.  We are particularly concerned by the loss of life, damage to critical infrastructure, and disruption of humanitarian assistance caused by the conflict between the Government and the Houthis.  We call on all parties to this conflict to heed the High Commissioner’s recommendations to cease hostilities and reach a negotiated and durable solution to the conflict.  The United States is deeply concerned by civilian casualties, and we reiterate the need for all sides to take all feasible measures to protect civilians.  All parties must allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief.  We note the work of the Government of Yemen’s National Commission efforts to document abuses thus far and encourage its continued cooperation with OHCHR.

The implementation of the peace accord in Colombia can significantly improve respect for human rights by reducing violence against civilians.  OHCHR and Colombian human rights organizations will need to engage in robust monitoring of the situation to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected by all actors as the peace process moves forward.  We commend and support the government’s close collaboration with OHCHR and civil society.

We are pleased a Chief of Mission for the Honduras OHCHR office has been selected and has arrived in country.  We urge the office to work with the Honduran government and civil society to strengthen the justice system.  Much work remains to be done to address the climate of impunity as well as to strengthen protections for human rights defenders, many of whom live under threat for their advocacy work.

We look forward to working with the new Government of Burma to address human rights and continue to have discussions regarding the opening of an OHCHR office, which would honor the previous government’s commitment.

Thank you Mr. Vice President.