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Human rights are under threat in far too many parts of the world. Protecting and advancing respect for human rights requires all governments and peoples to come together and demand action and accountability.

When the United States returned to the UN Human Rights Council, we committed to participate in and help lead the global effort to promote and protect these precious rights. We do so as a nation willing to acknowledge our own shortcomings, and one committed to transparency and accountability.

Now, as the 49th session of the Human Rights Council closes, the impact of the United States’ return is apparent. The United States co-sponsored more than half of all resolutions considered during this session. These resolutions reinforce actions to promote respect for the human rights of persons with disabilities, demand an end to attacks on human rights defenders, emphasize the need for adequate housing for all, and underscore freedom of religion or belief. We also highlighted human rights abuses in Belarus, Burma, DPRK, Iran, Nicaragua, South Sudan, and Syria, as well as in Georgian territories occupied by the Russian Federation. The United States led the first HRC resolution on how governments can counter disinformation while fully promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression. We were pleased to host two signature events during this session bringing attention to the dangers faced by women human rights defenders and underscoring the critical role of equity and inclusion for members of racial and ethnic minority groups in healthy democracies.

The Human Rights Council also played an important role in beginning the process of holding the Kremlin to account for its war on Ukraine. Our restored and strengthened partnerships were instrumental in helping pass a resolution that created a new Commission of Inquiry — a powerful investigative mechanism. Because of this work, the international community will now document Russia’s horrific conduct in Ukraine as well as the Kremlin’s ongoing repression of its own domestic civil society.

As the 49th HRC session closes, the United States looks forward to building upon this good work to continue to address human rights challenges around the world.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future