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U.S. Explanation of Position on the Right to Work
March 24, 2017


Explanation of Position 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

We join consensus today on the resolution on the Right to Work in recognition that this right is enshrined in Article 23 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  We are concerned that this resolution impinges upon the roles and responsibilities of the International Labor Organization.  Although we are joining consensus today, we do not believe that this Council should undertake further action on this topic.  We should not take up the limited time and resources of this Council and of the Office of the High Commissioner with further consideration of a topic that is already addressed by another international institution.

The United States understands that this resolution does not imply that states must join human rights instruments to which they are not a party, or otherwise implement obligations under these instruments.  Furthermore, in joining consensus, the United States does not recognize any change in the current state of treaty or customary international law.  We interpret this resolution’s references to the right to work and the right to the enjoyment of just and favorable conditions of work with respect to States Parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in light of its Article 2(1).

We note the longstanding and well known concerns of the United States regarding the right to development, which we have already raised in our explanation of position on the resolution on the question of the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.