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General Debate on Item 10
September 28, 2017

U.S. Statement as delivered by Jason Mack

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 28, 2017

Thank you Mr. Vice President.

The United States encourages governments facing serious human rights challenges to cooperate fully with OHCHR to help them address those challenges.

We welcome OHCHR’s reporting and technical assistance efforts in Yemen but remain deeply concerned about civilian deaths caused by the conflict.  We call on all sides to take all feasible measures to protect civilians and urgently seek a political resolution to the conflict that upholds human rights.  We condemn the unlawful use of child soldiers by all sides, and we share the High Commissioner’s concerns about detainees and missing persons.  We urge all parties to allow unfettered access for humanitarian aid, including food, fuel, and medicine.

We are gravely concerned about the worsening human rights situation in Cambodia, including the crackdown on opposition parties, independent media, and civil society, to include the government’s arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and the expulsion of the National Democratic Institute.  It is critical that the Council directly address these events and for Cambodia to cease these actions in order to achieve genuinely free and fair national elections in 2018.

We are disappointed that the Government of Bahrain placed unreasonable restrictions on a previously scheduled visit by the High Commissioner and we strongly encourage the Government to re-extend an invitation to the High Commissioner without these restrictions.  The United States also remains very concerned about the government’s reprisals against Bahraini civil society members engaging the United Nations on human rights issues.  In this vein, we note our concern with the detention and alleged abuse of Ebtisam Al-Saegh.

The United States is pleased by Georgia’s close cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and supports the efforts of the diplomatic community and human rights organizations to gain greater access to occupied territories of Georgia.  The United States fully supports Georgia’s territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders.  We continue to monitor closely the government’s investigation into the reported abduction of Azerbaijani independent journalist Afgan Mukhtarli.

We welcome OHCHR’s continued efforts in Latin America, especially its efforts to improve protections for human rights defenders.

Thank you.