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Explanation of Vote: Right to Development
September 25, 2014

Explanation of Vote:  Right to Development Resolution
Statement of the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council
UN Human Rights Council – 27th Session
September 25, 2014


International development is a critical component of United States foreign policy.  Still, we have still long-standing concerns about the notion of the right to development.

We have participated actively in the Working Group on the Right to Development in an effort to promote better implementation of development goals and to harmonize the various interpretations of the right to development.

This unbalanced resolution, which includes controversial and divisive language from General Assembly resolutions on this topic, does not reflect these differing viewpoints.  We therefore request a vote on this resolution and will vote NO.

We have specific concerns about a number of the provisions in this resolution.

It calls for an additional two-day informal inter-sessional meeting of the Working Group without an agreement in place on how to make progress in those discussions.

It does not mention the importance of considering specific, measurable indicators of development in addition to criteria and sub-criteria in order to advance the goals of the Working Group.

It focuses inappropriately on institutions in discussing the right to development.  These discussions, in our view, should focus on aspects of development that relate to human rights, universal rights that are held and enjoyed by  individuals, and the obligations States owe to their citizens in that regard.

Also of concern to us is that the resolution dictates how the UN’s specialized agencies should incorporate the topic of the right to development and inappropriately singles out the World Trade Organization for negative treatment.

We also cannot endorse language in the resolution that would prejudge intergovernmental negotiations and dictate a central role for the right to development in the post-2015 development agenda.

As we have noted previously, we are not prepared to join consensus on the possibility of negotiating a binding international agreement on the right to development.

We intend, however, to continue our constructive engagement with others on the topic of the right to development in the next session of the Working Group.