At the 37th UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, held February 26 to March 23, the U.S. addressed urgent human rights situations around the world.
The U.S. worked closely with Israel and other partners to combat the institutionalized bias against Israel by opposing Agenda Item 7 - the only Council agenda item focused on a single country - and voting against every resolution introduced under Item 7.
The U.S stood up for the Integrity of UN Human Rights Mechanisms by voting against a China-led resolution, which sought to prevent criticism of countries’ human rights records. This move by China intended to benefit autocratic states at the expense of individuals’ human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The U.S. played a key role in garnering support for the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Iran; and ran a joint statement, supported by 27 countries, highlighting continuing concerns about Iran’s human rights situation.
The U.S. supported a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation for North Korea, condemned the ongoing systematic and widespread human rights violations and abuses, and called for accountability.
The U.S. also supported a resolution on Syria condemning the violations of the UN Security Council-backed ceasefire in eastern Ghouta and co-sponsored the resolution renewing the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which condemned the violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, primarily by the Assad regime.
The U.S. led a resolution to renew the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for another year and secured commitment by the South Sudanese government to continue cooperating with the Commission and other human rights mechanisms.
The U.S. co-sponsored an EU-led resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur in Burma and support the work of the Fact Finding Mission.
The U.S. joined 44 countries in supporting a joint statement highlighting the decline in civil and political rights in Cambodia prior to the July 29 national elections, noting an electoral process that arbitrarily excludes the main democratic opposition party cannot be considered genuine or legitimate.
Active engagement with the Council provides the U.S. with an opportunity to stress its commitment to human rights, its continued concerns about the Council’s disproportionate focus on Israel, and its commitment to reforming the Council.