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U.S. Introductory Statement on Freedom of Opinion and Expression
March 24, 2017

Statement by the United States of America,
As Delivered by William J. Mozdzierz
Head of the U.S. Delegation

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 24, 2017

The United States is pleased to introduce for adoption Resolution L.27 on “Freedom of Opinion and Expression: Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

This resolution would extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for three years.  It has over 60 co-sponsors.

Nearly 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrined the right to freedom of opinion and expression for everyone.  That right is as vitally important today as it was in 1948, and renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur underscores its continuing importance.  It is crucial to a healthy and well-functioning democratic society; it promotes justice and the rule of law by allowing everyone to share information that affects them; it provides opportunities for the exchange of ideas that promote economic growth and innovation; and it contributes to peace by facilitating mutual understanding.

Moreover, the right to freedom of opinion and expression is inextricably linked to enjoyment of other universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The United States is proud to stand with the cosponsors in urging the Council to adopt this resolution by consensus.