UN Human Rights Council Convenes in Geneva
Date: 03/04/2014 Description: Dr. Sarah Sewall, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, addressed the High Level Panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming on ''The Protection and Promotion of the Human Rights of Migrants.''  © U.S. Mission Geneva/Eric BridiersThe UN Human Rights Council meets in Geneva from March 3 - 28, 2014 for its 25th regular session. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall traveled to Geneva, to deliver remarks at the high-level segment. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Paula Schriefer is serving at head of delegation for the remainder of the session. See highlights from the session:


White House Fact Sheet: International Support for Ukraine
President Obama has made clear that the United States will continue to support the Government of Ukraine, including economically. We have been working closely with international partners to develop an assistance package that will provide rapid financial and technical assistance to help Ukraine restore economic stability and conduct free, fair, and inclusive new elections that will allow the Ukrainian people to continue to make democratic choices about their future. The new Ukrainian Government has inherited an economy with enormous potential but that is currently financially fragile and uncompetitive. The Government of Ukraine has said publicly that it will work to meet these urgent challenges. As the government implements important reforms, the United States will work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to ensure that Ukraine has sufficient financing to restore financial stability and return to growth. Full Text


Release of 2013 Human Rights Report
Secretary of State John Kerry (Feb. 27):
"This is about accountability. It’s about ending impunity. And it’s about a fight that has gone on for centuries, as long as human beings have been able to think and write and speak and act on their own. The struggle for rights and dignity couldn’t be more relevant to what we are seeing transpire across the globe. The places where we face some of the greatest national security challenges today are also places where governments deny basic human rights to their nations’ people, and that is no coincidence. And it is particularly no coincidence in an age where people have access and want access to more information and the freedom to be able to act – to access information and to be able to act on the basis of that information. That is what has always characterized democracies and free people." Full Text & Video»


Under Secretary for Political Affairs Discusses Iran During Her Trip
Under Secretary Sherman (Feb 22):
"There is only one measure of success of a comprehensive agreement with Iran, and that is if an agreement means that Iran will never obtain a nuclear weapon and that the international community will have assurance in the exclusively peaceful nature of a nuclear program in Iran. That is our objective. We have begun very tough negotiations that will go on through July. We hope to get to a successful end and to a comprehensive agreement at that time. We have set a framework and a timetable for the negotiations." Full Text | Roundtable With Journalists | Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman Travels to Jerusalem, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Dubai


UN Security Council Resolution on Syria
Secretary Kerry (Feb 22):
"This could be a hinge-point in the tortured three years of a Syria crisis bereft of hope. This overdue resolution, if fully implemented, will ensure humanitarian aid reaches people in Syria whose very lives depend on it. This is all about saving innocent lives and relieving the burden on Syria's neighboring countries. After three years of slaughter and savagery, people rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real. The proof is on paper. By naming the areas in Syria where sieges must be lifted, demanding that hospitals, schools and other places where civilians gather must be demilitarized, insisting that aid must be allowed to cross borders and follow the most direct routes to the suffering, and by underscoring that attacks against civilians, including barrel bombing, must end, the international community hasn't minced words. This is a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today." Full Text | Ambassador Power’s Remarks at a Security Council Stakeout Following the Adoption of UNSC Resolution 2139 on Humanitarian Access in Syria


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Peacekeeping Missions Strengthen the Rule of Law in Post-Conflict Settings
Director Raffi Gregorian (Feb. 20):
"On February 19, the United Nations Security Council met for an open debate on strengthening of the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict settings. The session addressed how the failure of legal institutions can lead to conflict and cause repeated cycles of violence, displacement, humanitarian crisis, and instability. As Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo highlighted in her remarks to the Security Council, “respect for the rule of law is critical for the establishment of stable, secure, and democratic post-conflict societies.” Full Text» | Amb. DiCarlo Remarks at the UN Security Council»


Release of the Final Report of the UN Commission of Inquiry into the Human Rights Situation in the D.P.R.K.
Marie Harf (Feb. 17):
"We strongly welcome and support the final report released by the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (D.P.R.K.), which provides compelling evidence of widespread, systematic, and grave human rights violations by the D.P.R.K. The COI report reflects the international community’s consensus view that the human rights situation in the D.P.R.K. is among the world’s worst. We urge the D.P.R.K. to take concrete steps – as recommended by the COI – to improve the human rights situation for the North Korean people. The COI’s investigation – through, for example, its public hearings in Seoul, Tokyo, London, and Washington – clearly and unequivocally documents the brutal reality of the D.P.R.K.’s human rights abuses. We continue to work actively with our partners and with international organizations to raise awareness of and address the deplorable human rights conditions in the D.P.R.K." Full Text» | Link to the Final Report on the OHCHR Homepage»


White House Blog: Making the World Safer from Pandemic Threats: A New Agenda for Global Health Security
Date: 02/13/2014 Description: Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, talks with Lisa Monaco at a meeting about the Global Health Security Agenda in Washington, DC.  © Department of Health and Human ServicesLisa Monaco (Feb. 13): "Today, I joined Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and representatives of more than 25 nations, the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to launch the Global Health Security Agenda, an international effort to enhance our ability to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease threats. This is not just a health challenge – it is a security challenge as well. Infectious diseases have the potential to cause enormous damage in terms of lives lost, economic impact, and ability to recover, just as with nuclear, chemical, or cybersecurity attacks. In today’s interconnected world, they emerge and spread faster than ever before." Full Text»


International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
Secretary Kerry (February 6):
"Eleven years ago, the United Nations set aside February 6 as the day each year for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to eradicate Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting and stand in solidarity with the women and girls forced to suffer its unspeakable consequences. The facts must shock every conscience into action. All told, about 120 to 140 million women in countries around the world have undergone FGM/C and another 3 million girls are at risk each year. Just as gender-based violence knows no boundaries, this tragedy spans the globe, including among many migrant communities in the United States." Full Text» DipNote»


U.S. Condemns Sectarian Violence in the Central African Republic
Spokesperson Psaki (February 5):
"The United States is deeply concerned by recent sectarian attacks against both Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Clashes during the past few days in the town of Boda reportedly left over 75 dead, most of whom were Muslims. In late January, a convoy carrying mostly Muslims, including ex-Seleka militias, fired on the largely Christian residents of the town of Bocaranga, forcing many to flee. Many Muslim families have fled from their homes and some 50,000 third-country nationals have left the country. In the last year, approximately one million people have been displaced across the country, including some 85,000 new refugees that have fled to neighboring countries." Full Text»


DipNote: U.S. Formally Joins the UN Global Education Initiative
Date: 02/07/2014 Description: Students Hold a Hand-Written Sign for Malala Yousufzai. © AP ImageDAS Nerissa Cook (February 4): "Did you know that 57 million primary-aged children worldwide do not have the opportunity to attend school? Additionally, 69 million adolescents are not able to get a quality education. And of the many children who are fortunate enough to have some formal education, 250 million do not have basic literacy and math skills. These are alarming figures, because data shows that a good education can lead to a better life and a stronger economy." Full Text»


U.S. Designated a Champion Country in the UN Global Education First Initiative
Washington (January 28):
The United States is pleased to announce its designation by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as a UN Global Education First Initiative Champion Country. Launched by the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown in 2012, this initiative is an international call to action to raise education to the top of the public agenda by getting every child into school, improving the quality of education, and fostering global citizenship. As a Champion Country, the United States will serve as a global advocate for strategic investments in education, including better use of technology and innovation to enhance learning and workforce development. Full Text»


U.S. Condemns Renewed Violence in Central African Republic
Secretary Kerry (January 26):
"The United States is deeply concerned by renewed inter-religious violence in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). We condemn attacks by both anti-Balaka and Seleka groups in Bangui and the provinces. We are also deeply disturbed by reports that some C.A.R. leaders may be supporting attacks by anti-Balaka and Seleka, respectively, instead of working for peace and reconciliation. Preventing the violence from gaining further momentum and costing more lives will require all of C.A.R.’s leaders, past and present, to be clear in condemning it." Full Text»


U.S. Statement to IAEA Board of Governors
Date: 01/24/2014 Description: Ambassador MacManus -- Official Photo - State Dept ImageAmbassador MacManus (Jan. 24): "This week is an important milestone in the international community’s efforts to resolve concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. On Monday, January 20, implementation of the Joint Plan of Action began. This marks the first time in a decade that Iran has committed to take specific steps that halt progress on its nuclear program and roll back key parts of that program. In particular, Iran is taking steps to address a number of urgent concerns regarding its nuclear program, including its enrichment capacity, its existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, and its prospective ability to produce weapons-grade plutonium at the IR-40 reactor at Arak… Full Text »


Signing of the Cessation of Hostilities between the Government of South Sudan and the Opposition Forces
Washington (Jan. 23):
We congratulate the IGAD mediation team for its crucial work in realizing this critical step in resolving the conflict in South Sudan. The United States continues to stand with the people of South Sudan, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, humanitarian actors, and all those that continue to work under difficult and dangerous circumstances to alleviate the suffering and protect innocent civilians affected by this crisis. Full Text»


Intervention at the Geneva ll International Conference on Syria

Secretary Kerry (Jan. 22): "There is another way forward. We all know it. It is what this conference is organized around. It is the Geneva communique, which has the support of the international community as a peaceful roadmap for transition. And the only thing standing in its way is the stubborn clinging to power of one man, one family. I believe the alternative vision of the Syrian people is one that can gather the respect and support of people all around the world. It is a place that doesn’t force people to flee or live in fear, a Syria that protects the rights of every group. We have not only an opportunity, but we have an obligation to find a way forward so that the people of Syria can choose their leadership, know peace, and for 9 million refugees, finally be able to return home in dignity." Full Text» Press Availability»


Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action Between the P5+1 and Iran and Provision of Limited, Temporary, and Targeted Sanctions Relief
Washington (Jan. 20):
These actions implement U.S. commitments under the Joint Plan of Action, which is designed as a first step toward a peaceful and comprehensive solution to international concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

On November 24, 2013, the United States and its partners in the P5+1 reached an initial understanding with Iran that halts progress on its nuclear program and rolls it back in key respects. As outlined in a Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), this initial understanding includes the first meaningful limits on Iran’s nuclear program in close to a decade. In return for these important steps to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, the P5+1 committed to provide Iran with limited, targeted, and reversible sanctions relief for a six-month period. Full Text»


U.S. Deeply Concerned by Widespread Violations and Abuses of Human Rights in the C.A.R.
Date: 01/20/2014 Location: New York City Description: Peter Mulrean, Charge d'Affaires, a.i., U.S. Mission, Delivers statement at Special Session on the C.A.R. © UN ImageCharge d’Affaires Mulrean (Jan. 20): "We welcome the appointment of Ms. Marie Therese Keita Bocoum as the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the C.A.R., given the ongoing dire security situation, and reports of increased human rights violations and abuses since the Council last addressed the C.A.R. in September 2013….The United States remains deeply concerned by the ongoing and widespread violations and abuses of human rights in the C.A.R. We are particularly troubled by the eruption of large-scale, retaliatory cycles of communal violence in December 2013, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and an almost complete breakdown in law and order in the capital Bangui, and across the country. The reports of heinous acts of violence committed against women and children, including killings, mutilations, and rape, are especially troubling." Full Text»


Fact Sheet: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance in Response to the Syrian Crisis
Washington (Jan. 15):
Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced today the United States will provide $380 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to help those affected by the war in Syria. With this additional funding, the United States’ humanitarian assistance since the crisis began is more than $1.7 billion to help those suffering inside Syria, as well as refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries. Full Text»


Additional Humanitarian Assistance for South Sudan
The United States announced $49.8 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help victims of conflict in South Sudan. With this new assistance, the United States has provided more than $300 million in humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014 to assist South Sudanese victims of conflict as well as refugees seeking asylum in South Sudan. This new funding includes $24.8 million for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and $7.5 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) from the State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees, and Migration, for their 2014 programs in South Sudan. Full Text»


U.S. Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies Leads Journalists on a Visit to Cambodia

Date: 12/13/2013 Description: Ambassador David Lane helps serve food to schoolgirl during his visit to Cambodia.  (Photo taken by Sharon Ketchum, December 2013, US Mission to the UN in Rome.) © UN Image

Ambassador David Lane, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome, recently traveled to Cambodia. He visited rural communities and observe how the United States and the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies collaborate to support farmers, businesses, and government officials to improve food security and promote agricultural development in Cambodia. The Ambassador was accompanied by a group of journalists from Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Timor-Leste, and Cambodia. They visited a variety of projects run by the U.S. Government, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Ambassador Lane blogged about his trip:

You can view photos from his trip on the U.S. mission to the UN Agencies in Rome Facebook Page.


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