Item 4 General Debate on Human Rights Situations Requiring Council Attention
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Kelly Billingsley, Deputy Permanent Representative to the Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council – 51st Session
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States is gravely concerned about the human rights situations in Afghanistan, Belarus, Burma, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Syria, and Venezuela and will address those situations in detail during the session.
The United States remains deeply concerned by the genocide and crimes against humanity that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) authorities are perpetrating against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.
We call attention to the reports of detention, torture, and other abuses documented by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the High Commissioner’s independent report issued August 31. We call on the PRC to immediately cease committing these atrocities, release those unjustly detained, account for the fate of those disappeared, and allow independent experts unhindered access to Xinjiang. We remain concerned by serious human rights abuses committed in other areas of the PRC, including severe repression against Tibetans and their distinct religious, linguistic, and cultural identity, the undermining of freedoms in Hong Kong, and draconian controls on freedom of expression and other human rights across the country. Through transnational repression, the PRC government reaches outside its borders to harass, surveil, silence, and threaten those critical of the government, including individuals in the United States. These efforts also include threatening, detaining, and restricting the mobility of their family members within the PRC.
Nearly every day we see new, credible reports of Russia’s forces committing horrific atrocities and abuses against individuals, families, and communities as President Putin’s devastating and unjustifiable war against Ukraine continues. We call attention to Russia’s egregious filtration operations, including the reported disappearances, torture, family separation, and forced deportation of Ukrainian civilians, including children. We also note with concern Russia’s intensifying suppression of dissent, including anti-war expression, inside Russia. To date, it has been estimated by credible sources that between 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian civilians have been subjected to filtration and in some cases, subsequently forcibly deported to Russia, including 260,000 children. The filtration process includes temporary detention, data collection, interrogation, and in some cases abuse and killing of detainees.
We express concern about the limitations on the full spectrum of human rights, including the freedom of expression, the failure to pursue accountability for violations and abuses, and hostile environments for human rights defenders in Cuba, the DPRK, Eritrea, and Iran.
The Taliban have implemented repressive social policies that are limiting the agency of Afghan women and girls from fully participating in public life. Since last August, they have announced no fewer than 16 policies aimed at removing women and girls from political, economic, and social life, including their right to attend secondary school. We urge the Taliban to respect and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans.
In Syria, we continue to see human rights violations and abuses that spread fear, stifle dissent, and punish perceived opponents. We call on the Assad regime to cease these violations and account for the more than 132,000 arbitrarily detained or forcibly disappeared persons in Syria.
In Yemen, the truce has brought tangible benefits to the Yemeni people and saved hundreds of lives. We hope an extension and expansion of the truce will pave the way for a more comprehensive ceasefire and ultimately an inclusive, durable peace.
I thank you.