Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues

as delivered by Jason Mack

37th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 14, 2018

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States thanks Special Rapporteur de Varennes for his first report presented to the Council.  We would also like to take this occasion to thank the former Special Rapporteur Rita Izsak for her work on minority issues.

Mr. Special Rapporteur,

We welcome your attention to stateless women belonging to minority groups and the unique challenges they face.  This is closely related to efforts undertaken by the United States at this Council to highlight the issue of stateless women and children.  We share your concern about stateless members of minority groups who are targeted with violence.

The United States welcomes your joint press statement with three other special rapporteurs about the treatment of members of the Christian minority in Iran.  We also remain concerned about Iran’s targeting of other members of religious minorities, including Baha’is, Zoroastrians, Gonabadi dervishes, and Sunni Muslims.

We are deeply troubled by the acts of violence against Yezidis at the hands of ISIS.  Yezidi women face unique horrors that must be addressed.

We remain concerned about the treatment of persons belonging to minority groups in China.  We appreciate your joint statement with other rapporteurs on the ruling by a Chinese court to uphold charges of “incitement to separatism” brought against a human rights activist who appeared in a documentary calling for respect for the distinct linguistic and cultural identity of Tibetans.  We urge China to uphold its international commitments to respect human rights of all individuals, including members of ethnic and religious minorities.  We remain concerned about the lack of meaningful autonomy for Tibetans, and the alarming level of repression, including through the use of high-tech surveillance, in Xinjiang.

Mr. Varennes, your report discusses the link between ethnic conflict and threats to the rights of persons belonging to minority groups, and goes on to mention the importance of early warning in preventing violence.  What specific tools would help identify possible areas in which violence might be used against members of minority groups?

Thank you.