Delivered by Jason Mack
37th Session of the Human Rights Council
March 1, 2018
Thank you, Mr. President. The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Michel Forst for his report on the overall situation of persons acting to defend the rights of all people on the move.
The United States remains deeply concerned by the continued acts of intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders around the world on the basis of their cooperation with the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms. Indeed, human rights defenders who appear in this very body are often targeted. We encourage you to continue to report on reprisals against human rights defenders.
As Secretary Tillerson stated, “Human rights violations, if left unaddressed, cause great upheaval in civil society…respect for human rights and the rule of law are essential foundations for a stable and functioning society.”
Question: Mr. Forst, your report referenced the need for sharing good practices with respect to civil society and State relocation initiatives. Can you elaborate on some of your ideas?
Additionally, the United States thanks the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, for his report on his mission to Turkey. We agree that there can be no justification for acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or for any form of impunity for such acts. The United States categorically condemns all acts of torture and calls on Turkey to act on its obligations and commitments, investigate all credible allegations of torture, and hold accountable any individuals found responsible for such acts. Due to the potential risk of ill treatment, we also call on Turkey to end the protracted state of emergency; commit to restoring democracy and rule of law, and to respecting individual freedoms; and cease the arbitrary detention of government critics.
We also thank Mr. Melzer for his report submitted to the Council. Although we agree that assurances must not be used as a loophole to undermine the principle of non-refoulement, we also believe that diplomatic assurances, when used appropriately, can serve as an effective tool to help ensure compliance with Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture (CAT).