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Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York

Repressive regimes that systematically limit the activities of non-governmental organizations have, once again, been elected to the United Nations’ Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. This is yet another reminder of how much remains to be done to protect civil society’s role as a critical driver of progress and liberty in countries around the world.

The United States has been an active and outspoken advocate in the fight against the crackdown on civil society. And we will continue to challenge the growing, sophisticated and well-resourced effort to inhibit the right of people around the world to speak freely and to advocate peacefully for change. As such, we are very disappointed by the result of today’s NGO Committee election, which will do nothing to help the cause of freedom.

The unopposed candidacy of Iran, where authorities regularly detain human rights defenders, subjecting many to torture, abuse, and violations of due process, is a particularly troubling outcome of today’s election.

Against this backdrop, the United States’ reelection to the NGO Committee today is all the more important, and we urge member states who see the vital importance of civil society to step up and stand for election to this important body. The United States will continue to use this forum to fight against those who seek to inhibit civil society’s critical work, and we will continue to support the vital role nongovernmental organizations play at the United Nations.

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