At the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper expressed deep concern about the troubling state of human rights in several countries around the world.
The U.S. urges the leaders of South Sudan to abide by the peace agreement and refrain from hostilities on both sides. The U.S. also condemns the harassment and violence directed at civil society, humanitarian personnel and journalists.
In China, Ambassador Harper described the detention of nearly 300 lawyers and activists since July 2015 and called for the immediate release of more than 20 people who remain in custody. He also called for the release of peaceful Uighur activists including economist Ilham Tohti, civil rights attorneys including Zhang Kai and Pu Zhiqiang, journalists such as Gao Yu and Shokjang, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. Ambassador Harper urged China to cease undue restrictions on religion in Tibet and Xinjiang and to stop church demolitions and cross removals in Zhejiang.
The United States is deeply troubled by Venezuela’s recent efforts criminalize legitimate political dissent and, by banning several opposition politicians from participation in the December 6 parliamentary elections, and by convicting opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez.
The United States urges Cuba to make good on its public invitations for UN special rapporteurs to visit and schedule their visits. The United States is concerned by the continued practice of arbitrary, short-term detention of peaceful activists.
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan must allow domestic and foreign journalists and human rights activists to carry out their work without fear of persecution.
Egypt increasingly violates freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, and we are deeply concerned by the lack of international due process standards and other fair trial safeguards.
Russia continues to suppress dissent, restrict independent media, and threaten civil society. Russia’s occupation of Ukraine’s Crimea has led to persecution of its opponents, independent media, and members of minority groups including Crimean Tatars.
In Iran, noted Ambassador Harper, "crackdowns on journalists and human rights defenders continue, as do executions carried out in manner contrary to international obligations." The government also continues to target members of ethnic and religious minorities, along with those with opposing political views.
In Burma, the U.S. continues to be concerned the conditions facing members of the Rohingya population in Rakhine State.
As President Barack Obama said, "people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes with faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people."