Item 4 General Debate with the High Commissioner

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

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

Thank you Mr. President,

The United States remains deeply concerned about the human rights situations in Iran, Syria, Myanmar, the DPRK, Cambodia, and South Sudan, which we address elsewhere in this session.

In Russia, we are troubled by restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression in advance of the presidential election and call on federal authorities to address troubling abuses in Chechnya, including the arrest of human rights activist Oyub Titiev and allegations of torture of LGBTI persons.  From Ukraine to Syria – and now the United Kingdom – Russia continues to be an irresponsible force of instability in the world, acting with open disregard for the sovereignty of other states and the lives of those living within their borders.

We remain troubled by reports that lawyers and activists, including Wang Quanzhang, Jiang Tianyong, Li Yuhan, Yu Wensheng, and Huang Qi, and foreign nationals, including Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, 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 harsh conditions akin to martial law that have been imposed in Xinjiang and some Tibetan areas.

We are appalled by the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s use of repression and disproportionate lethal force against civilians for exercising their rights to call for elections.

We continue to be concerned about Cuba’s harassment and detention of individuals who attempt to peacefully assemble or otherwise express themselves. We condemn the undemocratic electoral process in which the Cuban people cannot freely choose their future leaders.

We decry the ways in which the Maduro regime in Venezuela has barred opposition parties from participating in upcoming presidential elections, arbitrarily detains hundreds of political prisoners, uses security forces to repress its citizens, including tactics which led to the deaths of more than 120 Venezuelans last year, and deprives the Venezuelan people of their franchise, even as he drives the country toward crisis.

We call on Turkey to end the protracted state of emergency, which has eroded democracy and rule of law, and to release those critical of the government who have been arbitrarily detained.

Thank you.