An official website of the United States government

EOP on Resolution “The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries…
March 27, 2014

Item 3:  Resolution Entitled “The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights,” A/HRC/25/L.14

Explanation of Position by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Paula Schriefer
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Head of the U.S. Delegation to the 25th Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 27, 2014

Thank you, Mr. President.

With all due respect to the lead sponsor of the resolution, the United States regrets that the Human Rights Council has chosen again to make pronouncements in the highly technical area of asset recovery, which we do believe lies outside the appropriate scope of the HRC.  Current UN General Assembly resolutions on this topic, as well as other recent UN decisions and resolutions, strongly recognize the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as the groundbreaking and primary binding legal framework for cooperation in asset recovery cases accepted by 170 States Parties to date.

Unfortunately, this resolution does not reflect valuable progress made by relevant experts in the UNCAC’s Conference of States Parties and its Open-Ended Intergovernmental Expert Working Group on Asset Recovery to develop and share good practices, promote implementation of the convention and effective asset recovery, and set common goals through recommendations and resolutions.  For example, the Council has used outdated and problematic terms and concepts in this resolution, such as the phrase “repatriation to countries of origin.”  Recognizing that the term is contrary to the provisions of the UNCAC, expert-level fora elsewhere now use the terms “asset recovery” and “return.”  Similarly, we believe the report that formed the basis for this resolution does not contribute constructively to the literature on asset recovery and return.  Other studies, including ones the UN Office on Drugs and Crime/World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative have completed, cover the complex technical aspects of asset recovery in a manner more in line with the UNCAC and international consensus.

Many of the delegations in this room have worked together and with the United States outside this forum to help depoliticize the issue of asset recovery.   We regret that this resolution ignores that important work.  We look forward to working with the UN and other appropriate experts, in Vienna and elsewhere, to address this important issue in appropriate fora.

We therefore must call a vote and will vote no.

Thank you, Mr. President.