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HRC 35 Item 2: General Debate with the High Commissioner
June 7, 2017

U.S. Statement as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council 35th Session
June 7, 2017

Mr. President, Mr. High Commissioner,

We welcome cooperation with you and your office and thank you for your unwavering advocacy to promote the protection of human rights throughout the world.

We reiterate our deep concerns about Yemen’s deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation as a result of the continued conflict.  We support the UN-led process and call on all sides to take all feasible measures to protect civilians, allow unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations, and urgently seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict that respects the human rights of all Yemenis.

Restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly and association in Bahrain remain a concern and play into Iran’s destabilizing covert activities and support for violent extremist organizations in Bahrain.  Respect for human rights for everyone in Bahrain remains critical for reconciliation and will strengthen Bahrain’s long-term stability and security.

We remain deeply concerned that the authorities in Azerbaijan continue to hold individuals widely considered political detainees or political prisoners – such as Ilgar Mammadov (EEL-gar mah-MAH-dov) – and that they otherwise limit peaceful voices.  We urge the government to release all those incarcerated or detained for exercising their fundamental freedoms and to strengthen rule of law by empowering an independent judiciary.

We are concerned by Turkey’s crackdown on dissent and independent media during the ongoing state of emergency, and we urge authorities to respect the fundamental freedoms of all persons in Turkey.

We are concerned by recent developments in Maldives including:  the murder of outspoken blogger Yameen Rasheed (YAH-meen RAH-sheed), irregularities in Parliament’s March 27 no-confidence proceedings, and continued arrests of political opposition members.  We call on the government to respect freedom of expression and other fundamental freedoms, defend the democratic process, and protect judicial independence.

We encourage the government of Thailand to return to elected civilian government and lift restrictions on civil liberties to allow space for open dialogue, free of intimidation and harassment, in advance of elections.

Thank you High Commissioner and thank you Mr. President.