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Item 4: Human Rights Situations Requiring Council Attention
September 19, 2017

Item 4

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

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 19, 2017

Thank you Mr. Vice President,

The United States remains deeply concerned about the human rights situations in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Myanmar, and South Sudan, which we will address elsewhere in this session.

We remain deeply troubled by ongoing harassment of civil society and media in Russia, as well as by the growing number of political prisoners and the increasing pressure on political opposition as 2018 elections approach.  We again call on Russia to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for reported detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings of gay men in Chechnya.

We remain deeply concerned by the arbitrary detentions, excessive sentencing, abuse, torture, and harsh prison conditions that Iran imposes on human rights defenders, minorities, and other prisoners of conscience.  We deplore the death sentences imposed on prisoners of conscience for exercising their fundamental freedoms, and the execution of juvenile offenders.

We condemn widespread and gross human rights violations and abuses in the DPRK, including summary executions, enslavement, torture, arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearances.

We remain troubled by reports that lawyers and activists in China are being arbitrarily detained, tortured, and forced to confess to political charges on state media, and that in many cases, authorities have retaliated against their families. Additionally, we are concerned about conditions akin to martial law that have been imposed in Xinjiang and some Tibetan areas.

We are concerned by the decision of the Hong Kong authorities to seek tougher sentences for activists after they served their original sentences.

We condemn the Maduro regime’s repressive actions to violate human rights including by suppressing dissent and peaceful protests in Venezuela.  We call on it to dissolve the illegitimate Constituent Assembly and restore Venezuela’s democratic institutions; hold free, fair, and credible elections as soon as possible; and provide humanitarian assistance for the Venezuelan people.

We urge Cuba to release political prisoners and cease the harassment of civil society groups.

We remain concerned by the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Belarus, including elections that are not free and fair and severe limits to the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Finally, we are troubled by Turkey’s severe crackdown on dissenting voices, independent media and human rights defenders during the protracted state of emergency.

Thank you.