U.S. Statement at the Item 3 General Debate

Item 3 General Debate
As Delivered by Jason Mack

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 15, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice President,

State-sanctioned enforced disappearances are devastating to both the victim and their families who are left not knowing the fate of their loved ones. We remain concerned by the use of this egregious tactic, with the Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances facing over 1,000 cases reported per year. The United States supports the Council’s continued attention to this important issue.

We highlight the 2015 disappearances of five Hong Kong publishers of books critical of Chinese Communist Party leadership and the lack of transparency regarding their cases, as well as the 2017 disappearance of Xiao Jianhua from a Hong Kong hotel under suspicious circumstances. It is essential that the Chinese government investigate these cases, account for the fate and whereabouts of any such individuals who are in Chinese custody, and ensure they are afforded the legal rights and protections they are entitled to under Chinese law consistent with their universal human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We are dismayed by the scale of disappearances in Syria, where at least 85,000 people have disappeared. We urge the various appropriate mechanisms of this Council, including the Working Group and the Syria Commission of Inquiry to coordinate in highlighting this issue.

In response to the Intergovernmental Working Group on Private Military and Security Companies, we reaffirm the importance of prevention and protection against human rights abuses and the importance of oversight and accountability in the activities of these companies. As we have stated previously, we believe that States should develop and implement effective national regulation of this industry. Taking the appropriate steps to hold accountable those who commit crimes has and will continue to be critical to the U.S. approach. In parallel with effective domestic regulation, we fully support efforts to enhance international and multi-stakeholder collaboration and coordination.

Thank you.