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U.S. Explanation of Vote on Unilateral Coercive Measures – HRC36 Resolution L.14
September 29, 2017


Explanation of Vote by the United States of America as delivered by Katherine Gorove

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 28, 2017

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States once again categorically rejects the premise that underlies the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures.  The imposition of targeted sanctions does not violate human rights. In fact, targeted sanctions can be a powerful tool to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms and hold accountable those who violate or abuse those human rights and the freedoms.  The resolution before us today blatantly mischaracterizes international law and calls into question legitimate practices undertaken by many United Nation member states.

Sanctions, whether unilateral or multilateral, can be a successful means of achieving foreign policy objectives.  Financial sanctions, bans on technology and arms transfers, and travel restrictions help impede the ability of designated persons from engaging in actions that threaten international peace and security.  In cases where the United States has applied sanctions, the measures have been implemented with specific objectives in mind, including as a means to promote the rule of law or democratic systems, to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, or to encourage improved resource governance.  We believe that sanctions can be an appropriate, effective, and legitimate alternative to the use of force and that U.S. sanctions are fully compliant with international law and in line with the United Nations Charter.

For these reasons, the United States will vote “no” on this resolution before us today and we urge all delegations to vote against it.

Thank you, Mr. President.