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Item 2 General Debate
Statement as Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
September 13, 2023

Item 2 General Debate

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Human Rights Council – 54th Session

As Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

High Commissioner Turk, I want to thank you and OHCHR for the ongoing work to advance all human rights, including its important efforts to recommit to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders on their respective anniversaries. You have the support and appreciation of the United States.

We value OHCHR’s efforts to advance transitional justice, lift restrictions on civil society, and protect human rights defenders.

We are troubled by recent developments in the Western Hemisphere. In El Salvador, we recognize the effect brutal street gangs have had on citizen security, but we remain concerned about due process protections for the approximately 70,000 alleged gang members imprisoned under the government’s state of exception.

In Guatemala, justice officials tackling human rights abuses and corruption face continued persecution. We recognize the Guatemalan people’s bravery in going to the polls despite these challenges and despite authorities’ efforts to undermine elections.

In Haiti, a devastating increase in gang violence restricts freedom of movement and access to basic goods and services.

We share OHCHR’s concerns about the detention of human rights activists across the globe, including environmental defenders, in Vietnam.

In Guinea and Mali, we urge enhanced cooperation with OHCHR.

We are disappointed by the recent closure of the OHCHR office in Uganda, especially considering Uganda’s recent adoption of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act, which puts the human rights of LBGTQI+ persons at serious risk and sets both a terrible precedent and example. All people, regardless of their identity, deserve to live without fear of discrimination or violence; we all have a duty to strive for the realization of truly Universal Human Rights.

I thank you.