Explanation of Position: Resolutions on Rights of the Child

Item 3:  Resolutions entitled “Preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age as a human rights concern” and “The right of the child to engage in play and recreational activities”
Explanation of Position
Statement of the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Eric Richardson
UN Human Rights Council – 27th Session
Geneva
September 26, 2014

 

Thank you, Mr. President.

We would like to make an explanation of position on resolutions L.23 and L.28. The United States is pleased to join consensus on the resolutions addressing morbidity and mortality for children under five and the importance of play and recreation for children.

Preventing childhood mortality and morbidity is a priority for the United States government.  In 2013, the United States – one of the largest government donors – contributed more than $130 million to UNICEF.

These funds are helping support the health of children, including through vaccinations, breastfeeding campaigns, and nutrient supplementation.  We look forward to continuing our work with other States to ensure that all children around the globe live healthy lives.  We are glad that this resolution calls upon States to increase efforts to address child mortality, including by focusing on root causes.

However, we wish to reiterate the importance of using United Nations resources cost-effectively, and ask the OHCHR to minimize the cost of the report this resolution requests.  We welcome the development of the OHCHR technical guidance as a useful policy orientation, although it is overly prescriptive, particularly in its description of a human-rights based approach.

We understand that a human rights-based approach is anchored in a system of rights and corresponding obligations established by international human rights law.

With regard to the right to play: the United States believes that play and recreation are instrumental in helping a child learn about the world.

We are pleased that the resolution suggests a range of activities to promote play and recreation for children.  It also addresses the need to encourage these important activities in humanitarian situations.

We thank the Government of Romania for accommodating many of our concerns.  We also note that our support is consistent with our limited authority at the federal level with respect to education, as education is primarily a responsibility of our state and local governments.

We are glad the resolution signals the importance of including children in digital activities and we fully promote children’s safe use of digital technology, while respecting freedom of expression, including for children.

We support both of these resolutions with the understanding that they do not imply that States must become parties to instruments to which they are not a party, or implement obligations under instruments to which they are not a party.

The United States does not recognize the creation of any rights or principles we have not previously recognized or the expansion of the content or coverage of existing rights or principles.  We also understand the resolution’s reaffirmation of prior documents to apply to those who affirmed them initially.

We are glad that the Human Rights Council is addressing these important matters on the well-being of children.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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