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Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Cassayre at the Human Rights Council Organizational Meeting
February 8, 2021

Remarks at the Human Rights Council Organizational Meeting
Chargé d’Affaires Mark J. Cassayre

As Delivered

Madam President, members of the Human Rights Council, colleagues and friends,

It’s my great pleasure to join you here today and proudly reaffirm the commitment of the United States to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.

The Biden administration believes in a foreign policy centered on democracy, human rights, and equality.

Effective use of multilateral tools is an important element of that vision.

I am pleased to inform you that this morning, Secretary Blinken will announce that the United States will reengage with the United Nations Human Rights Council as an observer. We do so knowing that the most effective way to reform and improve the Council is to engage with it in a principled fashion.

While recognizing the Council’s flaws, we know that this body has the potential to be an important forum for those fighting tyranny and injustice around the world. By being present at the table, we seek to ensure it can live up to that potential.

The United States is always striving to do better – to create a more perfect union.

The President’s early announcements, orders, and actions signal a strong commitment to diversity, equality, and respect, both at home and abroad.

We have seen important new positions regarding systemic racism, immigration, climate change, gender equality, and LGBTQI rights, all of which have important echoes here in Geneva.

More work remains to be done.  As President Biden said regarding racism in the United States:  “I’m not promising that we can end it tomorrow, but I promise you that we’re going to make strides to end systemic racism, and every branch of the White House and the federal government will be part of that.”

We will bring this same spirit of introspection, collaboration, and renewal to our engagement here in Geneva with the Human Rights Council.  We commit to working with all of you to strengthen this institution and defend human rights around the globe.

The work is urgent. In the past few months alone, we have seen several emerging human rights challenges that deserve our immediate attention.

I look forward to continuing the close cooperation we have had with many of you and your teams and invite you to please see us as an avid partner in the days, months, and years to come.