U.S. Statement as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 29, 2017
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States supports technical assistance and capacity-building in the area of human rights. We believe technical assistance is one of the most tangible forms of support the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights can offer. The United States congratulates governments that have sought assistance from OHCHR through resolutions adopted under Item 10 for their willingness to seek solutions to the challenges they face.
We thank the core group for holding inclusive negotiations. We regret, however, that we must dissociate from preambular paragraph 4, in light of its inappropriate assertion that the enhancement of technical cooperation is essential for the effective promotion and protection of human rights. We underscore that while technical cooperation is a useful tool to promote the implementation of human rights, each State has the primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights. States’ human rights obligations and commitments are not contingent upon technical cooperation and the absence of such cooperation may not be invoked to justify a failure to honor these obligations and commitments, just as the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights.
The United States also regrets this resolution’s invocation of the Declaration on the Right to Development. The concerns of the United States about the existence of a “right to development,” and the corresponding Declaration, are longstanding and well known. The term does not have an agreed international meaning and work is needed to make any such “right” consistent with human rights, which the international community recognizes as universal rights that individuals hold and enjoy – and which every individual may demand from his or her own government.
With respect to this resolution’s discussion of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United States recognizes the 2030 Agenda as a global framework for sustainable development that can help countries work toward global peace and prosperity. We applaud the call for shared responsibility in the Agenda and emphasize that all countries have a role to play in achieving its vision. We also strongly support national responsibility stressed in the Agenda. However, each country has its own development priorities, and we emphasize that countries must work towards implementation in accordance with their own national circumstances and priorities. Finally, while we recognize that development, including certain aspects of the 2030 agenda, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are mutually reinforcing, we caution against efforts to over-emphasize these “synergies” at the expense of prioritizing the implementation of the entirety of each state’s human rights obligations.
Thank you, Mr. President.