At the United Nations Human Rights Council’s 34th Session that ended March 24, the United States helped shape the international response to urgent human rights issues, including by taking the lead on resolutions related to the human rights situation in South Sudan and on continuing needs for justice in Sri Lanka, renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom and Expression, and negotiating for strong resolutions to protect and promote human rights and fundamental freedoms worldwide.
Responding to the alarming report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, the United States led the renewal of the Commission’s mandate to collect and preserve evidence that can be used in future judicial efforts.
The United States was lead sponsor of a resolution to extend for two years
Sri Lanka’s implementation of commitments to promote justice reconciliation, and accountability, as well as a UN role in monitoring and reporting on Sri Lanka’s progress.
The United States also co-sponsored a resolution to strengthen the ability of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Seoul to collect evidence that could be used to hold those responsible for human rights abuses in North Korea accountable.
The United States supported the establishment of an independent international Fact Finding Mission into alleged recent human rights violations and abuses by security forces in Burma, including in Rakhine State.
The United States played a key role in garnering support for renewed mandates to investigate human rights abuses in Iran and atrocities in Syria, as well as the Council’s decision to promote technical assistance to improve human rights in Haiti.
The United States is pleased that the Council adopted by consensus resolutions on the importance of both the rights to freedom of religion or belief and to freedom of expression. The United States was the lead sponsor of renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. In addition, the United States co-sponsored renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Throughout the session, the United States worked closely with partners to defend Israel against unbalanced criticism. These efforts resulted in diminished support for the politicized resolutions introduced under the biased Agenda Item 7, the agenda item focused on a single country.
Promoting human rights and democracy is a core element of U.S. foreign policy, said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. That's why the U.S. will continue to champion respect for human rights through the United Nations.