Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteurs on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and on Violence Against Women

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women

U.S. Statement as delivered by Gregory Staff
Human Rights Council 35th Session
Geneva,
June 12, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice President,

The United States welcomes Special Rapporteur García-Sayán.  We remain concerned about the ongoing detention and arrests of lawyers, rights activists, and their colleagues around the world.  In many cases, detainees have not been granted access to legal counsel.  Furthermore, defense attorneys remain increasingly vulnerable to detention, prosecution and other forms of harassment and intimidation for performing their professional duties.   Lawyers taking on sensitive cases face physical intimidation while traveling to see detained clients, gathering evidence, or speaking with the media.  We urge governments to allow lawyers to vigorously defend their clients free from unwarranted interference by government and judicial authorities.

Special Rapporteur García-Sayán, can you tell us more about your priorities for this mandate?

The United States also thanks Special Rapporteur Šimonović for her presentation on shelters and protection orders for survivors of violence.  The report suggests taking a coordinated approach to assist survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence.  In the United States, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act and its reauthorizations encourage various stakeholders to work together and contribute their respective strengths to helping survivors.  The United States has developed a Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence, which emphasizes a holistic, multi-sector approach to gender-based violence globally.  The report also suggests instituting phone lines to guide survivors of violence to the help they need.  The United States has three national hotlines connecting survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and teen dating abuse to trained advocates.

Special Rapporteur Šimonović, are there examples of how stakeholders can leverage their efforts to produce more effective results?

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.