General Statement for the Implementing the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society

Nicholas Hill
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
New York, New York
November 18, 2021

General Statement for the Implementing the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Through Providing a Safe and Enabling Environment for Human Rights Defenders and Ensuring their Protection, Including in the Context of and Recovery from the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic Resolution


Thank you, Chairperson.

The United States is proud to once again co-sponsor this important resolution that recognizes the vital role of human rights defenders in our societies. We thank the main sponsor, Norway, for its work on this text during these negotiations.

The work of human rights defenders is critical to a vibrant civil society, and our support of them is likewise an investment in and support to equitable access to justice and democracy promotion. The United States strongly supports the rights of all individuals to exercise their freedoms of association, peaceful assembly, and expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information. We reaffirm that these rights shall be subject only to such limitations as are in accordance with applicable international obligations and no language in this resolution should be read to suggest otherwise. We support defenders as they work tirelessly to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, advocate for government transparency and accountability, promote equitable access to justice and expose and prevent corruption.

We remain concerned that human rights defenders, especially those working on environmental issues, as well as their families, friends, and associates, are often harassed, detained, interrogated, imprisoned, tortured, and killed for doing the work of promoting accountability and protecting human rights.

The United States understands references in this resolution to environmental human rights defenders to refer to individuals, both working in environmental matters and seeking to express their views on environmental issues.

Furthermore, with regard to this resolution’s references to human rights relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment we refer you to the U.S. general statement delivered November 5, and the unabridged version of our statement, which will be posted on the U.S. Mission’s website on the final day of this session.

The United States is deeply committed to a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable.

Thank you, Chairperson.