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Outcomes of the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

During the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the United States worked to uphold the universal values, aspirations, and principles that have underpinned the UN system for decades.  The end of this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration.  These two documents are cornerstones of our system of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.

During this session of the Council, the United States collaborated with UN Member States to highlight and address pressing human rights concerns.  Our statements and positions underscored the U.S. commitment to promoting the universality of human rights, including by addressing discrimination, inequity, and inequality in all forms. 

The United States also strongly supported Israel on the Council floor following the Hamas terrorist attack beginning October 7.

This session, the United States advanced priorities on issues related to the full range of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including economic, social, and cultural rights:

Establishing an investigative mandate in Sudan: 

The United States was a member of the core group that established an international fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations and abuses in Sudan.  This historic action by the Council is especially important as reports of atrocities and other abuses continue, such as conflict-related sexual violence, ethnically motivated killings, and burning of villages in Darfur and elsewhere.

Renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Russian Federation:

The United States co-sponsored the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Russian Federation, who provides vital reporting as the Kremlin carries out its sweeping policies of repression.  Moscow’s campaign has worsened life for Russia’s citizens and made it dangerous for civil society organizations, media, and other independent voices to provide information or express dissent.  Russia continues to hold hundreds of political prisoners, including many sentenced for their criticism of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.  Impunity for human rights abuses in the North Caucasus region, including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, also remains an urgent concern.

Renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan:

The United States co-sponsored the resolution to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, whose engagement and reporting remain crucial to documenting, addressing, and preventing further abuses as the Taliban continues to target women and girls, government critics, former officials, and human rights activists through detentions, physical abuse, intimidation, and killings.  We joined many Council members in criticizing the Taliban’s efforts to silence Afghan women and girls and erase them from all parts of society.  For the first time, the HRC passed the resolution by consensus.

Advancing Gender Equality: 

The United States reaffirmed its support for eliminating discriminatory laws and practices against women and girls in all their diversity, advanced the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and underscored the importance of the right of everyone to education.  We co-sponsored and helped defend resolutions that advance gender equality, including Preventing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity and Girls Education.  The United States helped defeat a slate of hostile amendments seeking to weaken inclusive gender language from these and other resolutions.

Supporting Racial Equity and Justice:

The United States demonstrated its deep commitment to addressing the challenges of systemic racism both at home and abroad.  Recognizing we must work to combat racism experienced by athletes, the United States co-sponsored the resolution, A world of sports free from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, as sports create unique opportunities to unite people of diverse backgrounds around a common purpose, and to lead by example in promoting equity and justice.  We also joined consensus on the renewal of the Mandate of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.  The United States co-sponsored the resolution entitled Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, which laid the foundation for enhancing the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the work of the Council, bringing new perspectives to our work to promote respect for human rights.

Other Priorities:

The United States co-sponsored resolutions to continue reporting on Burundi and provide assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights.  We also joined consensus on resolutions providing human rights assistance in Cambodia, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.

The United States also co-sponsored thematic resolutions on such topics including enforced or involuntary disappearances; centrality of care and support from a human rights perspective; the promotion of truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-reoccurrence; the human rights of older persons; the World Programme for Human Rights Education; and the International Year of the Family.

Side Events: 

A central highlight of this session was our dedicated side event on combating antisemitism.  Drawing widespread participation, this event shed light on the rising scourge of global antisemitic threats and their effect on societies.  It emphasized the need to safeguard Jewish communities worldwide and underscored the collective responsibility of nations to address this urgent matter.  The United States co-sponsored several additional side events, including on the Holocaust, and on human rights in Russia, Yemen, and Ukraine. 

Joint Statements:

The United States led a joint statement on the heightened risks associated with surveillance technologies, including commercial spyware, and the importance of safeguards and responsible practices in the development and use of these tools to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms that ultimately gained 59 signatories from every regional group.

The United States led a joint statement on safeguarding the human rights of women and girls across the Americas – a key priority for the United States this session.  We welcomed the support of 14 hemispheric partners who are deeply committed to advancing gender equality across the region and the globe. 

We also joined statements on Syria, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Ethiopia, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, President Nelson Mandela’s Commitment to the UDHR and VDPA, sexism in sport, antisemitism in sport, rights of intersex persons, the rights of LGBTQI+ persons, reprisals, social reintegration of prisoners, and enhancing access to assistive technologies for older persons, and vaccination, immunization, and the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, among others.

Source : US Department Of State