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Item 1: Decision Adoption – EOP by the United States of America – Toxic Wastes Resolution
October 2, 2009

UN Human Rights Council – 12th Session Delivered by Chargé Douglas Griffiths

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States joined consensus on this resolution as we recognize that dumping of toxic wastes can have a negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. We commend the efforts of the delegation of Côte d’Ivoire to forge consensus on this important issue. We would like to offer a point of clarity on the use of the term “dangerous products” throughout the resolution. This term is vague, as any product that is misused may be called “dangerous.” We believe the intended focus of the resolution—restricted toxic or hazardous waste—is more limited than that vague term “dangerous” might suggest.

We also note that some of the recommendations in the reports of the Special Rapporteur are problematic. For example, the recommendations are quite critical of the International Convention For the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, adopted earlier this year in Hong Kong. The United States believes that Convention will significantly improve the environmental impact from ship recycling worldwide. Indeed, that Convention and the work of IMO have already positively impacted ship recycling.

The United States anticipates a lively discussion during the panel to be held during the 13th session. We encourage the relevant experts to use established international and domestic authorities in this area. The panel should not replicate the role of the Special Rapporteur in proposing measures to reduce and eradicate the negative impact on human rights resulting from movement and dumping of toxic waste, but should be a forum for debate and discussion of challenges with the goal of increasing awareness and facilitating the work of the Special Rapporteur.

While the United States will not block adoption of this resolution, we wish this statement to be reflected in the report.

Thank you, Mr. President.