Three Years After Start of Syria Conflict, Latest Report to Human Rights Council details “Horrific” Violations

We welcome the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and thank the commission for its extremely important work over the past two and a half years, despite the Asad regime’s refusal to cooperate and grant access to the Commission.

As we gather today, three years after the start of the Syrian revolution, more than 100,000 people have died, 6.5 million internally displaced, and more than 2.5 million have fled to nearby countries as refugees.  The COI has again reported additional and ongoing gross violations carried out by government forces and militias, including murder, hostage-taking, enforced disappearances, torture, rape, unlawful use of child soldiers, targeting civilians, and the indiscriminate use of barrel bombs.  We appreciate the COI’s efforts to document the abuses and violations perpetrated by non-state armed groups, including by Jabhat Al-Nusra and ISIL, whose conduct we strongly condemn. Full Statement

"While Iran has begun to shift its rhetoric on human rights, the United States remains deeply concerned that Iran continues to suppress free expression and civil society, harass members of its ethnic and religious minority populations, and imprison human rights defenders and journalists on politically-motivated charges."
- Paula Schriefer, Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 25th Human Rights Council, Geneva, March 17, 2014

Tomicah Tillemann, the U.S. Secretary of State’s Senior Advisor for Civil Society and Emerging Democracies, discusses the work of the work of the Community of Democracies on the eve of the 12th meeting of the group’s executive board in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Governing Council is the CD’s highest decision-making body. The meeting will address a broad range of issues related to democracy including the status of freedom of association in the world, challenges facing human rights defenders, and current developments in Ukraine. Governing Council members will recognize Moldova’s graduation from the Community’s Democracy Partnership Task Force, an initiative co-chaired by the United States and Poland to support Moldova’s democratic transition.

Preparations for the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council are well underway.  Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Paula Schriefer meets with NGOs in Geneva. 

Preparations for the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council are well underway.  Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs Paula Schriefer meets with NGOs in Geneva. 

“As the nature of the conflict and the humanitarian crisis continues to evolve, so must our response.  But one thing ought to remain constant – our enduring commitment to Syria’s refugees and to all those who offer them protection.” - Deputy Secretary of State William Burns (Full Text)
Photo by  U.S. Mission Geneva / Eric Bridiers

As the nature of the conflict and the humanitarian crisis continues to evolve, so must our response.  But one thing ought to remain constant – our enduring commitment to Syria’s refugees and to all those who offer them protection.” - Deputy Secretary of State William Burns (Full Text)

Photo by  U.S. Mission Geneva / Eric Bridiers

Today in Washington, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing for three individuals who have been nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassadors to U.S. missions to the U.N. abroad: Mr. Keith M. Harper, to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council; Ms. Crystal Nix-Hines to be the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization; and Ms. Pamela K. Hamamoto to be Representative of the U.S. to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 12, 2013, for meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov focused on Syria’s chemical weapons site. The Secretary was welcomed at the airport by Ambassador Betty E. King, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva.
U.S. Mission Photos by Eric Bridiers

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 12, 2013, for meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov focused on Syria’s chemical weapons site. The Secretary was welcomed at the airport by Ambassador Betty E. King, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva.

U.S. Mission Photos by Eric Bridiers

Photo 1: Paula Schriefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, discusses the Human Rights Council agenda with Amnesty International’s Representative at the UN Geneva Peter Splinter. Input from civil society plays a central role in the formulation of U.S. Human Rights policy at the Council and beyond.

Photo 2: Paula Schriefer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, discusses issues ahead at the Human Rights Council with Julie de Rivero, Geneva Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch. Input from civil society plays a central role in the formulation of U.S. Human Rights policy at the Council and beyond.

U.S. Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers

Webster University’s 18th Humanitarian Conference

Ambassador Betty E. King was the key note speaker at Webster University’s 18th Humanitarian Conference in Geneva on February 21, 2012. She noted that there was no better place to have such a conference than Geneva as it is the world headquarters for the key international health and humanitarian assistance organizations – including the World Health Organization, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among others. Ambassador King also took the opportunity to highlight the U.S. commitment to humanitarian organizations reminding the audience that “Humanitarian assistance is at the very heart of U.S. foreign policy not only because we are the world leader in providing humanitarian assistance, but because we believe it is the right thing to do and, therefore, have made it an integral part of our foreign policy.”

U.S. Mission Photo by Eric Bridiers

On January 24, 2013, Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, discussed “The Human Rights Council: How relevant is it and what is the role of the United States?”at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

On January 24, 2013, Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, discussed “The Human Rights Council: How relevant is it and what is the role of the United States?”at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

U.S. Opening Statement, Conference on Disarmament Plenary by Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament and U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Issues. Geneva. January 22, 2013.

U.S. Opening Statement, Conference on Disarmament Plenary by Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament and U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Issues. Geneva. January 22, 2013.

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