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Dissociation and Explanation of Position: On Hazardous Substances and Wastes
September 26, 2014

Dissociation and Explanation of Position: the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances and wastes
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 26, 2014


The United States recognizes the serious effects improper management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes may have on the effective enjoyment of human rights.  We are committed to the proper management of such hazardous substances and wastes.

Nonetheless, we are dissociating from consensus because this resolution does not address the longstanding concerns we raised in the negotiations.

We believe critical issues related to hazardous substances and wastes are already comprehensively addressed in other relevant conventions, bodies, and positions within the United Nations.  Now in its twentieth year, this mandate has already fulfilled its function.

We also reaffirm that the mandate is strictly limited to the human rights implications that may be involved in the management and disposal of hazardous waste, which is the area of this Council’s expertise and mandate.

To that end, we stress that the Special Rapporteur must avoid overlap with the competence of expert, non-human rights instruments and entities.

In addition, we are concerned about this resolution’s budgetary implications.  We call on the Special Rapporteur to make effective use of technology and other techniques to reduce the potentially high costs of elaborating the guide to best practices that the resolution requests.

The costs this resolution imposes merit careful review and scrutiny given the large demands already placed on OHCHR.  We must acknowledge the budgetary constraints that limit member states’ ability to provide OHCHR the additional resources it needs to respond to requests like the ones contained in this resolution.

For this reason, we request OHCHR and the relevant offices to review the costs associated with this mandate and incorporate them into the OHCHR’s budget request to the UN for 2016-2017, to include offsets based on the elimination of lower priorities.