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U.S. Explanation of Position on the Rights of the Child Resolution
March 24, 2017

Explanation of Position on Resolution L.25

Statement by the United States of America,
As Delivered by William J. Mozdzierz
Head of the U.S. Delegation

Human Rights Council 34th session
Geneva, March 24, 2017

The United States joins consensus on the Rights of the Child resolution with the understanding that the provisions of this resolution, and the others adopted by this Council, do not imply that States must become parties to instruments to which they are not a party, or implement obligations under such instruments.

Any reaffirmation of prior documents in this resolution and any others adopted by this Council applies only to those States that affirmed them initially.  We also underscore that this resolution and the others adopted by this Council do not change or necessarily reflect the United States or other States’ obligations under treaty or customary international law, nor does the use of the term “agreed” with respect to previous instruments necessarily suggest that they do so.  This or other resolutions cannot change, and do not necessarily reflect private parties’ legal obligations.  We thus read OP 3’s statement that “the best interest of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his or her nurture and protection” as recommendatory.

We understand the terms “human trafficking” and “modern slavery” to be synonymous, umbrella terms that describe the totality of the crime of “trafficking in persons,” i.e., the various acts, means, and forms of exploitation used to control another person.  We underscore that the 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children has 170 State Parties.  Within the Palermo Protocol definition of trafficking in persons, “forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery” are included in the forms of exploitation.  We also note that human trafficking can include, but does not require, movement.  Additionally, it is unfortunate that the references to “trafficking” in OP 21 do not accurately refer instead to “trafficking in persons” or “human trafficking.”

Pending review of U.S. policies relating to climate change and the Paris Agreement, the United States reserves its position on language in this resolution relating to these issues.

Thank you