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Clustered ID with the WG on Arbitrary Detentions and the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
September 13, 2017

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
as delivered by Trevor Wysong

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 13, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President,

The United States welcomes the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions and the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery.

We share the Working Group’s concern regarding Venezuela’s continued detention under house arrest of María Lourdes Afiuni Mora.  We call upon the Government of Venezuela to release Ms. Afiuni immediately.  We are also deeply concerned about the increasingly critical situation documented by OHCHR’s report on August 30 describing widespread and systematic use of excessive force and arbitrary detention among other abuses by national authorities against demonstrators and perceived political opponents in Venezuela.

What steps can the Working Group take to address arbitrary detentions documented in this latest report?

We thank Special Rapporteur Bhoola for her report on justice for survivors of contemporary forms of slavery, particularly labor exploitation.  The report cites measures in the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 to address forced labor and involuntary servitude.  The 2013 Reauthorization Act contains measures to guard against purchasing products made by those who are subjected to human trafficking.  It also includes provisions to respond to emergency situations where human trafficking is likely to occur.

The report recommends that member states consider developing an international legal instrument to direct the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.  While the United States appreciates the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations to address barriers in global supply chains, we do not believe that a new treaty is the proper approach to effectively address the concerns identified.  Rather, these concerns should be addressed through national law and multi-stakeholder efforts.  We strongly encourage member states to effectively implement the obligations they have undertaken under current international instruments, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.

We appreciate the victim-centered approach and human rights-based focus of the Special Rapporteur’s report.  We would welcome her views on incorporating the voice of victims of trafficking into national responses.  In the United States, we work closely at the federal level with the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, which is comprised of survivors of various forms of human trafficking.

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.