Statement by the United States on WHO Executive Board Membership

World Health Organization
149th Session of the Executive Board 

Virtual Meeting
Geneva, Switzerland, June 2, 2021

Statement by the United States on WHO Executive Board Membership

As Delivered by
Amy Norris White
Senior Health Advisor
Office of Economic and Development Affairs
Bureau of International Organization Affairs
U.S. Department of State

The United States thanks the Government of India for its leadership as Chair over the past year and warmly welcomes the Government of Kenya in this new role.

The United States had the honor of serving on the WHO Executive Board for the last three years.

The United States affirms the important role of the Executive Board in leading the governance of the WHO and advancing global public health. With these responsibilities, we note that members of the Executive Board are expected to uphold universal values and human rights.

Unfortunately, we have grave concerns that Governments of two new Board members, Belarus and Syria, do not share these values, as demonstrated by its respective human rights violations and abuses against its own citizens — as overwhelmingly condemned by the international community. In particular, we note Syria’s track record of conducting chemical weapons attacks harming civilians and striking medical facilities as well as first responders.

The United States takes this opportunity to reinforce the expectation of members of the Executive Board and calls on the Governments of both Belarus and Syria to respect human rights.

We also call on Syria to allow for the unimpeded access of life-saving humanitarian aid, including medical supplies regardless of where those in need are located.

Thank you Chair.