Item 8: General Debate on the Vienna Declaration & Programme of Action

U.S. Statement As delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 25, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

The Vienna Declaration calls for democracy, justice, equality, and the rule of law.  The United States is concerned about backsliding on these key principles necessary for the protection and full enjoyment of human rights, particularly in the context of elections.

The United States condemns the election imposed by the Venezuelan government on July 30 for the Constituent Assembly, which is designed to undermine Venezuela’s democratic institutions. We also condemn the use of violence by the Maduro regime against citizens exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. The United States stands by the people of Venezuela, and their constitutional representatives, in their quest to restore the country to a full and prosperous democracy.  We encourage governments in the hemisphere and around the world to take strong action to hold accountable those who undermine democracy, violate human rights, bear responsibility for violence and repression, or engage in corrupt practices.

We are concerned that the political impasse resulting from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s continued electoral delays is increasing tensions and serves as a trigger for further unrest, violence and violations and abuses of human rights.  We call on the government to take concrete steps towards electoral planning, most notably the release of a credible electoral calendar.

In Kenya, we express condolences over the lives lost to election-related violence.  We acknowledge the recent Supreme Court ruling that nullified the results and called for new elections.  We respect the decision of the court and urge all sides to work together to ensure the new election is free, fair, credible, and peaceful.

Thank you.