Item 8 General Debate
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council – 52nd Session
Delivered by Ambassador Michele Taylor
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
On behalf of the United States, I extol the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action taking place this year. The VDPA has helped fortify our shared human rights efforts within the UN system and globally.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the important role countries continue to play in shaping the VDPA from its conception to today, and as we look toward the future, by recognizing positive steps taken on human rights around the world. I will name a few recent examples.
Costa Rica’s government established the Presidential Commissioner for Social Inclusion, a new position with the responsibility of promoting justice and dignity for persons with disabilities, Afro-descendant populations, LGBTQI+ persons, and indigenous peoples.
In Singapore, the government decriminalized sexual relations between men last November. Although the statute was not actively enforced, the LGBTQI+ community had long recognizes the colonial-era law as discriminatory and stigmatizing.
Tanzania’s government has taken steps to restore democratic institutions, loosen media restrictions, and engage with members of the opposition. The government recently lifted a ban on political rallies, a welcome development to strengthen multiparty democracy in Tanzania.
In Romania, the government has committed to launching a new national program to provide legal advice to survivors of gender-based violence, including domestic and intimate partner violence, and to facilitate access to the legal system for historically marginalized communities.
In Zambia, the government is also taking steps to repeal and amend regressive, colonial-era legislation, and we welcome their hosting of the Summit for Democracy currently taking place.
These are just some examples of countries around the world where we see steps that are important on their own, and which cumulatively strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights domestically and globally.
I thank you.