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EOV item 3: The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin
March 26, 2015

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, and the importance of improving international cooperation.,” A/HRC/28/L.8

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

Human Rights Council 28th Session

Geneva, March 26, 2015


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States regrets that the Human Rights Council has chosen again to make pronouncements in the highly technical areas of asset recovery, illicit finance, tax revenue generation, sovereign debt, arms control, organized crime and others, which we believe lie outside the appropriate scope of the HRC. For this reason, we must call a vote and vote NO on this resolution.

Current 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.  To date, there are 174 States Parties to this convention.  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  For example, the Council has used outdated and problematic terms and concepts in this resolution, such as the phrase “repatriation of funds of illicit origin.”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.  We have also worked elsewhere with many delegations in this room to depoliticize asset recovery, including through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

With respect to illicit finance, we recognize the work of the FATF and the related efforts made by experts from around the globe on this issue.

Additionally, this resolution ignores the effective work already underway in other international fora, including the OECD and the UN’s conferences on Financing for Development.

Finally, we regret the last minute introduction of language in operative paragraph 2 which we view seeks to pre-judge the post-2015 negotiations happening in other fora.

We look forward to working with the UN and other appropriate experts, in Vienna and elsewhere, to address these important issues in appropriate fora.

Thank you, Mr. President.