Statement by John F. Sammis, Deputy Representative to ECOSOC, at the Third Committee General Discussion on the Report of the Human Rights Council and Statement by the President of the Human Rights Council

John F. Sammis
United States Deputy Representative to ECOSOC 
New York, NY
November 2, 2010


Thank you Mr. Chairman. The United States would like to welcome the HRC President, His Excellency Mr. Sihasek Phuangketkeow.

The Human Rights Council Report is a reflection of the Human Rights Council’s strengths and its weaknesses.

We are proud of many of the Council’s resolutions, for example:
· Establishment of a Special Rapporteur for the freedom of assembly and association;
· Establishment of Working Groups of experts on discrimination against women,
· Freedom of opinion and expression,
· Violence against Afghan school children, particularly girls,
· Trafficking in persons,
· Protection of human rights defenders,
· Protection of human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS;

And country-specific mandates and resolutions. We are especially proud of the Council’s recent renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert for Sudan, and new resolutions on Kyrgyzstan and Guinea.

However, we continue to be disappointed with the HRC’s unbalanced and one-sided approach to the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories. This was especially evident in the HRC’s handling of the Goldstone mandate and report, and its follow-up. This continuing bias is further evident in the Council’s hasty resolution establishing a fact-finding mission with a flawed mandate to investigate the tragic incident aboard the Gaza-bound ships in late May and its resolution following up on the mission’s report.

When we joined the Council last year, we came with the willingness to support what the Council does well, but we also pledged to challenge those aspects of the Council’s operation that undermine its effectiveness and mandate. It is in this spirit that we engage in the 2011 Review.

We look forward to working with the President of the Council and its membership as we seek to find ways to strengthen the Council and approve the effectiveness of its work.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.


PRN: 2010/270