Remarks at a Third Committee Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Mary Lawlor

Daniel Murphy
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
October 12, 2023


Thank you, Chair. Since it was raised by the Special Rapporteur, I must reinforce that the United States is outraged by and condemns unequivocally the appalling attach on Israel by Hamas terrorists from Gaza. As President Biden Stated, “Terrorism is never justified, and Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Full stop.”

Madam Special Rapporteur, thank you for your report highlighting the challenges faced by human rights defenders, especially women and LGBTQI+ individuals. We are alarmed by the use of criminal proceedings and other tactics designed to silence human rights defenders and organizations.

We condemn the politically motivated prison sentences given to five members of the human rights organization Viasna in Belarus, including Viasna Chairman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ales Bialiatski, and countless others.

We are also deeply concerned about the many activists in the People’s Republic of China who face criminal prosecution for their work as human rights defenders, including Ding Jiaxi and Xu Zhiyong.

We call on Member States to ensure that all human rights defenders can conduct their legitimate work in safe and enabling environments without fear of reprisals of any kind. Women human rights defenders are particularly vulnerable to threats, online and offline violence, and reprisals, and their rights must be protected.

Our question for Special Rapporteur Lawlor is, what can Member States do to promote justice and accountability for threats and violence against women human rights defenders?

I thank you.