An official website of the United States government

Item 3 / Business and Human Rights / Women and Nationality Laws
June 18, 2014

Item 3 General Debate

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Natalya Scimeca

UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
Geneva, June 18, 2014

Since 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been adopted by businesses, governments, investors and other key stakeholders across the world.

The United States was pleased to be among the first countries to have welcomed a country visit by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

We have held workshops for businesses, investors, and civil society to explain the Guiding Principles.

In addition, we have implemented laws and regulations that promote responsible business conduct and transparency in corporate reporting.

The impressive progress has been made possible by the careful and consensus-driven manner in which the Principles were developed.

For this reason, the United States is deeply concerned by efforts to move in a hasty and ill-considered manner toward a binding instrument on business and human rights which risk undermining the good will and good work that has been accomplished to date.

Turning to the issue of nationality, as we mark the 60th anniversary of the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, the United States seeks to draw attention to the problem of discrimination against women in nationality laws.

Twenty-seven countries around the world have laws that discriminate against women in their ability to confer nationality on their children on an equal basis with men, and over 60 countries worldwide deny women equal rights with men to acquire, change, or retain their nationality.

Research has shown that discrimination against women in nationality laws often results in diminished access to legal protection, education, health care,  and lawful employment.

Moreover, stateless persons, especially women and children, are at heightened risk of family separation, trafficking, sexual and physical violence, and other forms of exploitation and abuse.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has called on all States to make a firm commitment to ending statelessness within the next decade.

We look forward to working with other members of this Council to ensure that this body continues to focus on promoting and protecting women’s equal nationality rights.

Thank you.