Remarks at a UN Third Committee Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings

Courtney R. Nemroff
Acting U.S. Representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Council
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 24, 2019


Thank you, Special Rapporteur Callamard for your report on the application of the death penalty to foreign nationals and the provision of consular assistance by home states.

The United States takes seriously its international obligations with respect to consular notification and access. The U.S. Government trains thousands of local law enforcement around the country regarding U.S. obligations for consular notification. We are also committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens imprisoned overseas and assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of international and applicable domestic laws.

Additionally, the United States is deeply concerned that impunity for extrajudicial killings has become common around the world.

In Burundi, security forces and members of the ruling party’s youth wing reportedly continue to perpetrate unlawful killings against perceived members of the opposition. This situation appears to be worsening in the lead up to the country’s 2020 elections.

In the Philippines, there are credible allegations that security forces, vigilantes and others conduct extrajudicial killings in the government’s war on drugs.

In Venezuela, the United Nations reports that the Maduro regime has committed almost 7,000 extrajudicial killings since 2018.

We have been clear that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a heinous act. It is crucial that the Saudi government continue to ascertain the facts, conduct a fair and transparent judicial process, and hold accountable those responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.

In Syria, the Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities, some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity. These atrocities include the use of chemical weapons, killings, torture, enforced disappearance, and other inhumane acts.

In Northeast Syria we are deeply troubled by reports suggesting that Turkish Supported Opposition forces have deliberately targeted civilians. Such acts—if verified—are barbarous and contrary to the laws of armed conflict. We urge Turkey to immediately investigate these incidents, ensure its forces and any other forces under its command and control act in accordance with the law of armed conflict.

We are also concerned about credible reports of extrajudicial killings in Libya, Bangladesh, and Nicaragua.

We urge governments to conduct thorough and transparent investigations into all reports of extrajudicial killings.

Special Rapporteur Callamard: How can the international community help protect civil society actors — such as activists, media, and political opposition members — from extrajudicial killings?