The outcomes of the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) underscored the importance of robust U.S. engagement at the Council, where the United States continues to work with a diverse range of countries from all regions to address urgent human rights concerns. U.S. leadership helped to keep the Council at the forefront of international efforts to promote and protect human rights.
MULTILATERAL RESPONSES TO COUNTRY SITUATIONS
Ukraine: The Council adopted its first ever resolution on human rights in Ukraine. The resolution called for continued cooperation and monitoring of the human rights situation throughout the entire country, and condemned ongoing abuses taking place in Russian-occupied Crimea and by separatists in the eastern parts of the country.
Syria: The resolution on Syria, the HRC’s 14th such resolution since the start of the conflict in Syria, focused on accountability, condemned serious abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in Syria, and lamented the lack of an International Criminal Court referral. It also reiterated the international community’s demand for unfettered humanitarian access.
Belarus: The HRC renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for human rights in Belarus. The resolution highlights the continued violations of human rights in Belarus, especially the draconian restrictions on civil and political rights, such as the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
South Sudan: The HRC adopted a consensus resolution that condemns human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, including targeted killings, unlawful recruitment of child soldiers, and sexual violence and rape that have occurred since the outbreak of violence in mid-December 2013.
CROSS-CUTTING HUMAN RIGHTS PRIORITIES
Internet Freedom: More than 70 countries co-sponsored a resolution led by Sweden in conjunction with the United States alongside Brazil, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Turkey on internet freedom. This consensus resolution reaffirms the core principle that human rights are the same online or offline.
Women’s Rights: Thirty-four other countries joined a U.S.-led statement expressing deep concern at the disproportionately high rates of violence against indigenous women and girls worldwide. The United States also co-sponsored a resolution on eliminating violence against women and girls that focused on how that violence impedes political and economic empowerment for women and girls, as well as a resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons. We also co-sponsored a resolution on eliminating discrimination against women that focuses on eliminating gender-based violence, providing education for women and girls, and promoting access to economic and employment opportunities.
Business and Human Rights: The United States was pleased to co-sponsor Norway’s resolution on business and human rights. The United States strongly supports efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights around the globe. Those principles provide an important policy framework for States, corporations – both domestic and multinational – and other stakeholders in addressing the human rights challenges in business operations.