Key U.S. Outcomes at the UN Human Rights Council 28th Session
The outcomes of the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) underscored the importance of robust U.S. engagement at the Council, where the United States continues to work with countries from all regions to address urgent human rights concerns. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement to the Council during the high-level segment reaffirmed that U.S. leadership has helped to keep the Council at the forefront of international efforts to promote and protect human rights. Seventy-eight states also made a groundbreaking commitment to countering violent extremism.
Iran: For the fifth year in a row, the HRC passed a resolution highlighting the human rights situation in Iran. The United States joined Macedonia, Moldova, and Sweden in leading the resolution, which renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran.
D.P.R.K.: The HRC passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for one year, and welcoming the upcoming establishment of an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) office in Seoul.
Countering Violent Extremism: Seventy-seven states joined a U.S.-led statement underscoring their commitment to countering violent extremism, while promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Syria: The HRC passed a resolution on Syria, which extends the mandate of the Syria Commission of Inquiry (COI) for another year and condemns in the strongest terms the widespread and systematic violence by Syrian authorities, government-affiliated militias, and terrorist groups such as ISIL, as well as human rights abuses and violations of international law by all parties.
Burma: The HRC renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and urged the government to establish an OHCHR office. The resolution expresses concern about anti-Muslim violence, the situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine state and the fighting in Shan and Kachin states.
Democracy and Rule of Law: The HRC decided to establish a forum for dialogue and cooperation on democracy and the rule of law.
Libya: The HRC created a fact finding mission led by OHCHR that will investigate violations and abuses of international human rights law in Libya since the start of 2014. The mission will report next March and provide technical assistance to the government of Libya.
Guinea, Haiti, Iraq, and Mali: A resolution on Guinea called for the international community to continue supporting human rights activities. The mandate of the Independent Expert for Haiti was renewed for another year, while addressing the domestic pre-election conditions. The HRC passed a second resolution that will continue reporting on the situation in Iraq, especially in regard to the conflict with ISIL. The HRC renewed the mandate of the Independent Expert on Mali for another year.
Item 7/Israel: The United States opposed four biased annual resolutions that targeted Israel, all of which were adopted under the HRC’s agenda Item 7, dedicated solely to Israel. We oppose all actions under this agenda item, the only one dedicated to a single country.
Freedom of Religion or Belief – 16/18: The resolutions on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Combatting Intolerance Based on Religion or Belief preserved the international consensus on how to address the tension, as perceived in some areas, between respect for religion and protection of freedom of expression and conscience. Both resolutions call on states to take specific measures to safeguard the human rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief.