Transnational Repression and Human Rights: Protecting Human Rights
Defenders in Exile
Human Rights Council – 51st Session Side Event
Remarks by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
Good afternoon. Thank you for taking part in this opportunity to shine a light on the critical issue of transnational repression. It’s great to see such a strong cross-regional group of co-sponsors on this important topic.
The United States is deeply concerned by what appears to be a growing trend of those in power reaching across borders to intimidate or deter people from exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In all too many cases, countries use various forms of physical, verbal, or digital harassment to target activists, human rights defenders, or journalists. Countries also misuse international mechanisms or institutions to bring about the detention or deportation of these targets, not for legal purposes but for political motives or retaliation.
For refugees and asylum seekers, the act of picking up their lives and leaving everything they know to move to a new place without familiar culture, language, relationships, and often professional opportunities, is a path of last resort. My mother’s experience as a refugee was disorienting and frightening and she never fully moved past that. I can only imagine what it would have been like for her to have the added fear of dire consequences, perhaps those she fled in the first place, imposed from afar.
I hope this is an opportunity to expand the conversation about this crucial issue. Together, we must deter, and hold governments accountable for, transnational repression.