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General Debate on Item 10
March 22, 2018

U.S. Statement as delivered by Jason Mack

Human Rights Council 37th Session
Geneva, March 22 , 2018

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States encourages governments facing serious human rights challenges to cooperate fully with OHCHR to help them address those challenges. Many countries have benefited from such cooperation.

We urgently seek a political resolution to the conflict in Yemen that upholds the rights of all and call on all sides to take all feasible measures to protect civilians.  We welcome steps by the Saudi-led coalition to mitigate the humanitarian crisis and urge all parties to protect civilians and allow unhindered access for humanitarian aid.  We condemn the unlawful use of child soldiers by the Republic of Yemen Government and Houthi forces, as well as ongoing abuses by Houthi forces, including those committed against human rights leaders, journalists, and numerous Baha’i.  We reaffirm OHCHR’s concern regarding the death sentence of a Baha’i leader.

We are pleased by Georgia’s cooperation with OHCHR and look forward to an update on the issues raised in the September report.  We support international efforts to gain greater access to the Russian-occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  We are concerned by the death of Archil Tatunashvili in the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of South Ossetia.  The United States fully supports Georgia’s territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders.  We await the results of the government’s investigation into the reported abduction of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli.

We commend Afghanistan’s actions to strengthen laws against torture, criminalize bacha bazi, a practice in which men exploit boys for social and sexual entertainment, and increase the participation of women in the elections process.  We remain concerned about violence against women, attacks against journalists, and abuses committed by security forces, including unlawful killings and bacha bazi.  We welcome the High Commissioner’s report and encourage the government of Afghanistan to continue to fully cooperate with the United Nations monitoring mission.

We are pleased by Haiti’s plan to implement human rights recommendations made by UN human rights mechanisms, including justice sector reforms to reduce the number of pre-trial detainees, strengthen rule of law, reduce impunity, and combat trafficking in persons.  We urge the Government to designate the human rights portfolio to a cabinet-level official as soon as possible.

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