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The 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Brazilian diplomat Paulo Sergio Pinheiro delivers the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria during to the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, September 17, 2012.

The United States commends important achievements.

“The United States commends the important achievements of the [United Nations’] Human Rights Council in promoting and protecting human rights during its recently concluded 21st session,” U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said recently in a statement to the press.

The United States, along with the Czech Republic, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Maldives, Mexico, and Nigeria, presented to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council a resolution on the rights of freedom of association and assembly. The resolution, which eventually garnered more than 60 co-sponsors, was passed by consensus.

“The resolution reaffirms the importance of respect for the rights of peaceful association and assembly as essential components of democracy,” U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said in a diplomatic note posted on the State Department’s website. “The resolution calls upon States to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, a mandate that was established two years ago through a U.S.-led resolution.”

“The Council also maintained its strong pressure on the Assad regime in Syria, adopting its fifth resolution on that country this year,” Ambassador Donahoe continued. “The resolution . . . renewed the mandate of the Syria Commission of Inquiry and enables [the Commission] to continue its important work documenting widespread and systematic crimes against the people of Syria.”

“We also applaud the African Group for its leadership on a resolution on the human rights situation in the Republic of Mali,” Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. The resolution on Mali, which was also adopted by consensus, renews the call for an immediate end of all human rights violations and acts of violence and destruction of cultural and religious sites.

“We are also pleased that the [UN Human Rights] Council, with the African Group’s leadership, adopted a resolution that renewed and strengthened the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan,” Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said. The United States made clear “that the Independent Expert must have unimpeded access to all parts of society and all areas of the country, including Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile [states] and must be able to report findings without hindrance . . . We appreciate the attention this resolution will bring to these abuses as well as the threats facing demonstrators, civil society, and journalists.”