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Item 10: General Debate on Technical Assistance
June 21, 2017

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America, as delivered by Jason Mack

UN Human Rights Council – 35th Session
Geneva, June 21, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States encourages governments facing serious human rights challenges to allow for the establishment of OHCHR country offices to help them address those challenges.

We note Cambodia’s progress in conducting orderly, peaceful local elections with satisfactory preparation, though we remain concerned about threatening rhetoric from members of the government towards and restrictions on opposition parties and civil society as general elections approach.  We encourage Cambodia to continue working with civil society, development partners, and the United Nations, particularly through the OHCHR office in Phnom Penh, to promote and protect human rights, including political rights.

We commend Colombia’s support of OHCHR’s country office, which has provided critical technical assistance and human rights monitoring and continues to play an essential role in helping Colombia secure a just and lasting peace.

We are disappointed by Bolivia’s decision to close the OHCHR field office there by the end of 2017, and strongly encourage the government to reconsider.

Guatemala’s collaboration with OHCHR strengthens institutions and provides valuable insight for the protection of human rights defenders in the Guatemalan interior, and we applaud the government’s decision to continue its close cooperation.

We welcome efforts by Honduras to strengthen its protection mechanism for human rights defenders, and to investigate the murder of Berta Caceres.  We encourage Honduras to continue their investigative efforts and take all possible lawful steps to ensure that both material and intellectual authors of this crime are brought to justice, as well as in other emblematic cases.

We commend Mexico for passing the General Law to Prevent, Investigate and Punish Torture, and commend OHCHR’s Mexico office for supporting this effort.  We encourage Mexico to investigate and prosecute all human rights violations.

In Tunisia, the government’s close collaboration with OHCHR on security sector and judicial reform is a model for cooperation.

The United States is pleased by Georgia’s close cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including with its Tbilisi Regional Hub.  We urge that the government’s investigation into the reported abduction of Azerbaijani independent journalist Afgan Mukhtarli be full, transparent, and timely and that the authorities protect human rights and democracy activists in Georgia.

Thank you.