July 19, 2023

Outcomes of the 53rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

During the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the United States worked with partner States and civil society, including human rights defenders, to ensure the Council’s work reflects and reinforces the universal values, aspirations, and norms that have underpinned the UN system since its founding over 75 years ago.

In a first since rejoining the Council, the United States spearheaded a thematic resolution tackling statelessness and nationality rights.  This marks a significant step forward in our global effort to end statelessness.

The United States supported the Council’s important role of shining a spotlight on countries of concern, promoting accountability for governments and actors that violate and abuse human rights, and addressing key thematic human rights challenges.  Our statements and positions underscored the U.S. commitment to promoting the universality of human rights by addressing discrimination, inequity, and inequality in all its forms, including based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Across resolutions, joint statements, and interactive dialogues, the United States advanced equity and inclusion, with an emphasis on protecting the rights of all, particularly marginalized and underserved groups.

Our priorities included: 

Leading on Statelessness and Nationality Rights

Together with our partners, the United States led a resolution championing nationality rights, which is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Together, we encouraged governments and the broader international community to prevent and reduce statelessness and protect stateless persons’ rights.  This resolution took a firm stance against discrimination against women in nationality laws, elevated key gender inclusivity principles, and underscored the importance of the right to nationality.  The resolution garnered a broad, cross-regional group of co-sponsors and was adopted 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.  The U.S. co-sponsored, joined consensus on, and helped defend resolutions focused on advancing gender equality through prevention and response to gender-based violence, including accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls and child, early, and forced marriage.  The United States voted against all amendments seeking to weaken or remove inclusive gender language from these and other resolutions and encouraged other member states to do the same.   Additionally, as a member of the Group of Friends on the Responsibility to Protect, we promoted a joint statement promoting accountability for conflict-related sexual and other forms of gender-based violence, which may enable the commission of atrocity crimes.  We also signed joint statements decrying the gender-related killing of women and girls and heralding the critical role women play in diplomacy.

Promoting Civil Society Space:

The United States proudly co-sponsored the resolution on Civil Society Space.  It underscores the importance of creating and maintaining a safe and enabling environment, online and offline, in which civil society can operate freely and carry out its work promoting respect for human rights.  This work is all the more critical in the present age, as governments increasingly use digital technologies, surveillance, online censorship, and other mechanisms to restrict civil society and human rights defenders.

Renewing the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus: 

The United States co-sponsored the resolution that renewed the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus.  This mandate is more important than ever as the Lukashenka regime continues to find new tools to repress the Belarusian people.  The regime holds more than 1,500 political prisoners; violently intimidates and harasses all elements of civil society, including NGOs, trade unions and journalists; and passes draconian laws to punish critics both inside and outside of Belarus.

Renewing the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea: 

The United States co-sponsored the resolution renewing the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea.  The resolution maintains attention on Eritrea’s indefinite national service system and its unlawful recruitment and use of child soldiers.  It also continues to highlight the atrocity crimes committed by members of the Eritrean Defense Forces during the conflict in northern Ethiopia, which include crimes against humanity.

Drawing attention to the Human Rights Situation in Syria: 

As a member of the Core Group on Syria, the United States continued to draw attention to the dire situation in the country.  We welcomed the Commission of Inquiry’s reporting calling attention to continued abuses against refugees, as well as the ongoing torture and abuse in regime detention facilities.

Other Resolution Priorities: 

The United States also co-sponsored country-specific resolutions to keep reporting on Ukraine on the Council’s agenda and supporting the successful implementation of Colombia’s peace process.  We joined consensus on a resolution on Burma, making clear the need for conditions to improve before Rohingya can return safely.

The United States also co-sponsored key thematic resolutions, including:  the incompatibility between democracy and racism, human rights and extreme poverty, the right to education, the negative impact of corruption, human rights of migrants in transit, and texts renewing the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on rights of persons with disabilities, trafficking in persons, and judges and lawyers as well as the Business and Human Rights (BHR) Working Group which is critical to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on BHR.

United States Counters Anti-Israel Bias:  The United States led a joint statement, signed by a cross-regional group of 27 countries, expressing deep concern about the open-ended Commission of Inquiry on Israel created in May 2021.  We also voted against a new resolution under Agenda Item 2 to fully fund and implement an annual update of the database of companies operating in Gaza and the West Bank.  

Joint Statements:

Overall, the United States signed on to 23 thematic or country-specific joint statements. 

We led joint statements on cultural preservation, conflict-related sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence, and on the Commission of Inquiry targeting Israel, and signed statements on diverse topics, including democracy, femicide and human Rights, Climate Conference of the Parties, engaging with special procedures, International Day of Women in Diplomacy, affirming the importance of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, diverse families, poverty and clean affordable energy, the 75th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, supporting the UN Office on Genocide Prevention and R2P, AI and disabilities, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and the harm caused by internet shutdowns. 

The United States also joined 52 other countries in signing a statement on the alarming use of the death penalty in Iran, as well as other joint statements highlighting the Moura report on Mali, calling for accountability for Russia’s human rights abuses and atrocities in Ukraine, noting the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, and raising awareness about ongoing atrocities against civilians in Sudan.

Side Events: 

As the Chair of the Freedom Online Coalition this year, the United States led a side event focused on the UN Guiding Principles on BHR and the prevention of the misuse of technology and an event encouraging member state contributions to the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, to which the United States remains the world’s largest donor.  We also co-sponsored side events on technology and human rights with a focus on Artificial Intelligence, advancing accountability for repression of activists and protesters, the critical role of women in shaping the future of Afghanistan, Ukrainian prisoners of war, education in Ukraine, and the human rights situation in Crimea, as well as two side events on the human rights situation in Belarus and events addressing the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda. 



July 19, 2023 

Sanctioning Corrupt Businessman in North Macedonia 

The United States today is designating North Macedonia businessman Jordan “Orce” Kamcev for having engaged in corruption, including bribery of a government official.  Kamcev’s corrupt acts have eroded public confidence and undermined the integrity of North Macedonia’s justice sector and rule of law, while furthering his personal gain.

The United States will continue to promote accountability for individuals and entities that undermine or threaten the stability of the Western Balkans through corruption.  We call on North Macedonia to continue strengthening the rule of law and its democratic institutions and to clamp down on corruption.  These efforts are critical to North Macedonia’s full integration into European institutions.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is designating Kamcev pursuant to Executive Order 14033. Kamcev, one of North Macedonia’s richest businessmen, engaged in significant acts of corruption, the abuse of office, money laundering, and other offenses from 2002 to 2015.  His actions have eroded public confidence in North Macedonia’s justice sector and the rule of law, while furthering his personal gain.




Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit Before Their Meeting

July 19, 2023 Treaty Room Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning everyone.  It’s a great pleasure to have the secretary-general here.  We have a strong partnership with the Arab League, and evidence of that is the fact that we’re inaugurating our strategic dialogue, which we’ve been very much looking forward to.  It’s an opportunity for us to work even more closely together on the many issues that are affecting the lives of people in all of the countries represented by the Arab League as well as the United States. 

We, of course, have a lot to talk about, so many different challenges that we’re facing together, but I think the fact that we’re inaugurating this dialogue with the secretary-general really is evidence of the possibilities, the potential for strengthening and deepening our cooperation.  We deeply value collaboration with the Arab League, and I’m very much looking forward to this conversation today.  It’s especially good to have you back here at the State Department.  Welcome. 

SECRETARY-GENERAL GHEIT:  Thank you, thank you very much Secretary.  Well, as Secretary Blinken said, this is – might be the first time the United States and the League of Arab States are having that kind of very wide dialogue together on the level of the Secretary and the secretary-general of the league.  Our teams will spend the rest of the day working together trying to explore further the level of cooperation.  We are looking forward to deepen the relationship.  And the United States, a great power in the region as well as outside of that region – the region have been passing through most difficult times, and I’m sure that the steady hand of the United States – we will be receiving more and more help and support.  Thank you very much. 

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you.  Thank you, Secretary-General.  Thanks, everyone.  



July 18, 2023

Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Israeli President Herzog 


The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller: 

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog today in Washington, D.C.  The Secretary and President reiterated the importance of the 75-year-old U.S.-Israel partnership, emphasizing the enduring commitment to fundamental, shared values of democratic governance and human rights, which have long been at the heart of the bilateral relationship.  Secretary Blinken and President Herzog discussed efforts to advance Israel’s integration into the region and counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior.  They also discussed the need for further measures to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank.  Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the ironclad commitment of the United States to Israel’s security and the Biden-Harris administration’s support for concrete efforts aimed at preserving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 



July 18, 2023

Secretary Antony J. Blinken

And Israeli President Isaac Herzog

Before Their Meeting

July 18, 2023

Watergate Hotel

Washington, D.C.

PRESIDENT HERZOG:  Welcome, Mr. Secretary.  It was wonderful to see you before at the Oval Office with President Biden.  I want to thank you and I want to thank the entire U.S. administration for hosting me so graciously as we mark 75 years for Israel’s independence, a great historic moment, and of course marking the unique relations between Israel and the United States. 

And I want to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for pursuing such important goals as containing and limiting and stopping the Iranian nuclear program; as building a regional coalition of nations that pursues peace and wants more and more integration of Israel in the region; of course dealing with major challenges of humanity where Israel can contribute dramatically.  And we will be discussing, of course, the situation in Lebanon and the issue of the missing in action and POWs in Gaza. 

Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, for your friendship and support.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, Mr. President, it is both a pleasure and an honor to be with you.  We’ve had the opportunity to meet here in Washington, in Israel, and I can tell you that for me, for the administration, and most importantly for the President, we’re grateful for your leadership and your partnership.  We have, indeed, a unique relationship grounded in our commitment to Israel’s security, but also grounded in democratic values.  And the work that you’re doing, the leadership that you’re showing in affirming those values, in bringing people together in affirmation of those values, could not be more important.

And as you said, we are deeply committed to working together in dealing with the challenge posed by Iran, particularly in making sure that it never acquires a nuclear weapon.  We’re deeply committed to the normalization process and both deepening and expanding Israel’s relations with its neighbors far and wide.  And we’re also committed to finding a way forward toward two states and – for two peoples, something that we continue to believe is essential to Israel’s long-term security and its standing as a democratic and Jewish state.

In these areas and in so many others, our partnership is deeply (inaudible), and the appreciation we have for the role that you’re playing in particular could not be greater.  I think it’s also a very special occasion that you’re here on the 75th anniversary and particularly poignant that you’ll be following in the footsteps of your father tomorrow in addressing a joint session of our Congress.  We’re very much looking forward to that.

PRESIDENT HERZOG:  Thank you very much.


July 18, 2023

The United States Adds Foreign Companies to Entity List for Malicious Cyber Activities

Today, the U.S. government added four foreign commercial spyware entities to the Entity List for engaging in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.

Intellexa S.A. in Greece, Intellexa Limited in Ireland, Cytrox AD in North Macedonia, and Cytrox Holdings Crt in Hungary were added to the Entity List based on a determination that the companies engaged in trafficking in cyber exploits used to gain access to information systems, threatening the privacy and security of individuals and organizations worldwide.

The proliferation of commercial spyware poses distinct and growing counterintelligence and security risks to the United States, including to the safety and security of U.S. government personnel and their families. The misuse of these tools globally has also facilitated repression and enabled human rights abuses, including to intimidate political opponents and curb dissent, limit freedom of expression, and monitor and target activists and journalists.

Today’s action is part of a government-wide effort to counter the risks posed by commercial spyware.  It is consistent with steps announced in March around the Summit for Democracy including the issuance of an Executive Order to Prohibit U.S. Government Use of Commercial Spyware that Poses Risks to National Security; the Joint Statement on Efforts to Counter the Proliferation and Misuse of Commercial Spyware; and Guiding Principles on Government Use of Surveillance Technologies.  The addition of these entities builds on past U.S. government listings of commercial spyware companies.

Together, these actions demonstrate the United States’ continued commitment to and leadership on countering the misuse of commercial spyware and other surveillance technology. They complement bipartisan legislation by the U.S. Congress aimed at stemming the proliferation and misuse of these tools. As part of its commitment to put human rights at the center of U.S. foreign policy, the United States is working to counter the proliferation and misuse of digital tools used for repression. This effort is aimed at improving citizens’ digital security, combating cyber threats, and mitigating unlawful surveillance.

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