United States intervention
Item 5 General Debate
United Nations Human Rights Council
Geneva, March 18, 2021
Read by Daniel A. Kronenfeld
Thank you Madame Vice President.
The Special Procedures system is an indispensable centerpiece of the UN human rights architecture. More than anyone else, mandate holders shine a light on human rights abuses and violations without fear or censure. For this reason, the United States will always defend their independence.
Special procedures mandate holders courageously call out attacks on journalists in Africa, mass arbitrary detentions in Asia, repression of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe, suppression of peaceful protests in the Near East, abuses against civil society in Latin America, and, yes, instances of police brutality in North America. They fight to uphold the rights of women, protect and advance freedom of religion or belief, defend the rights of members of minority groups, and preserve the right of everyone everywhere to express their views without fear of repression.
The United States does not support every mandate or agree with every mandate holder. But we believe that efforts to undermine the independence of the special procedures, or to question the very legitimacy of the system, are a smokescreen for rights abusers to continue abuses without fear of public condemnation.
We thank the special procedures mandate holders for their service – work which is largely unpaid, often overlooked, and sometimes dangerous. It is an important part of our continued effort to combat human rights abuses around the globe.
Thank you very much.