ICCPR – Ambassador Taylor’s Opening Remarks for CSO Meeting
United States Periodic Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for being here. This marks our sixth consultation with civil society leading up to our engagement with the UN Human Rights Committee for our fifth periodic report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights tomorrow and Wednesday.
Your presence and input have been invaluable throughout the process and have greatly informed our understanding of the pressing issues addressed in this report.
For those of you I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting, I’m Michèle Taylor. I serve as the Ambassador and Permanent Represntative to the UN Human Rights Council for the U.S. here in Geneva. I have the honor of leading this delegation, representing key parts of the U.S. government, including senior representatives from the National Security Council and the Domestic Policy Council, as well as Mayor Steven Reed of Montgomery, Alabama, and Attorney General Aaron Ford of Nevada.
As deep and as broad as this delegation is in its leadership, I want to emphasize that we are here primarily to listen and to learn. Of course, we will answer as many questions as we can, but mostly we want to be sure our work is informed by all of you. It is truly my honor to be able to host you here.
I’ve said many times that no country, no matter how great, is above scrutiny — and that includes our own, the United States. And that is why we place such value on this process, and why we encourage other countries to do the same.
As you know, we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR, the seminal document that laid the groundwork for the ICCPR, reaffirmed humanity’s faith in human rights, in the dignity and worth of all human beings and in the equal rights of men and women. The UDHR drafting process was led by Eleanor Roosevelt, my predecessor in this role. I feel a deep personal commitment to upholding the ideals of the document that she helped to create.
That’s what we are doing again today. The U.S. government recognizes the monumental role civil society plays. You’re not just observers or commentators. You’re an integral part of our shared collective, relentlessly pushing us towards a more just society. In doing so, you compel us to be answerable to our greatest commitment: serving the American people.
Every insight, every recommendation you offer helps to shape our path forward. And I hope this engagement extends beyond these walls.
We are honored that Justin Vail, the Special Assistant to the President for Democracy and Civic Participation on the Domestic Policy Council is here with us today and will be with me on the dais when we engage the Committee on the report. His presence here further demonstrates the United States’s commitment to these issues and this process.