Remarks at a Meeting of the Third Committee on a Briefing by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 15, 2018


Thank you, and I want to thank the Cuban delegation for reminding Member States of our event on Political Prisoners in Cuba tomorrow at 1:15 in the ECOSOC Chamber. We hope you will all join us at this event.

The leadership of the High Commissioner has been and remains critical to addressing human rights challenges around the world.

The United States has historically supported your Office’s work in assisting States in the implementation of their human rights commitments, and at this time, we continue to do so with significant voluntary contributions. We urge you and your team to strongly advocates for those who have no voice in the face of repression, rather than using scare resources to advance peripheral issues, pursue political agendas, especially in Member States where effective domestic remedies exist, and to further institutional biases.

We strongly support mechanisms to investigate and preserve evidence of human rights violations and abuses, including the Commission of Inquiry and the International, Independent, and Impartial Mechanism for Syria, the Burundi COI, the Yemen group, the Kasai team, the Fact-Finding Mission and the IIIM on Burma, and the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan.

Given your Office’s close interaction with the Human Rights Council, we must once again raise the unchecked politicization and institutionalized bias of the Council, which informed our decision to leave and which persists unabated. The Council’s biased agenda Item 7 persists, and there has been no effort to reform or deter the election of Member States that have significant human rights concerns.

In that vein, we are also concerned about a number of politicized mandates that receive technical assistance and support from your office.

Member States of the UN have entrusted you with an important mandate – to promote and protect human rights for all. We urge you to use your voice and visibility of your Office constructively. This means focusing your efforts on encouraging Mandate holders to prioritize their attention on the worst of the worst – those countries that systemically abuse and violate human rights.

We share your concern over the reports of arbitrary detention and “re-education” of Uighurs and other members of Muslim communities in China.