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Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
March 15, 2017

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
Statement of the United States of America
as delivered by Kevin Dolliver.

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 15, 2017

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States appreciates the Special Rapporteur’s report.  Madam Special Rapporteur, thank you for your six years of exceptional research and work to advance the rights of members of minority groups.

The United States agrees that states bear the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting the human rights of all individuals within their societies, including members of minority groups.  We share your concerns about the disturbing patterns of attacks and violence against members of religious minorities and their places of worship worldwide, and about the need for governments to take positive and preventative actions in this regard.  We also agree that a primary objective of the United Nations, and indeed of this Council, is to prevent conflicts and violations or abuses of human rights before they happen, through early warning and early action.

We appreciate your efforts to engage with young people, women, caste-effected persons, materially disadvantaged individuals, and displaced persons from minority communities, and we agree that in many cases those individuals face increased vulnerability.  In today’s world, there are few single-issue problems.  Your work to address all aspects of the human rights of members of minority groups is important in facilitating peaceful and constructive inter-group relations on the basis of equality, dignity, and rights for all.

As you note, further efforts to disaggregate data by sex and age, as well as by additional categories such as ethnicity and religion, would provide a more comprehensive overview of the situations of minority groups and would help member states predict and prevent conflicts, address the disproportionate impacts of crises on minority communities, and lead to more effective risk assessments and early warning mechanisms.

Special Rapporteur, your report notes the importance of political will in fostering conditions for a cohesive society.  In your experience, what are the main obstacles to the assertion of this political will, and how can they be overcome?

Thank you.