Explanation of Position by the United States of America
as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council, 37th Session
Geneva, March 22, 2018
The United States is pleased to join consensus on this resolution concerning the realization of economic, social, and cultural rights, and welcome its emphasis on the links between sustainability and resilience and the enjoyment of human rights. We thank the main sponsor for the cooperative and collaborative approach to the development of this text. As a matter of public policy, the United States continues to take steps to provide for the economic, social, and cultural needs of its people.
As the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights provides, each State Party undertakes the steps set out in Article 2(1) “with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights.” We interpret this resolution’s references to the obligations of States as applicable only to the extent they have assumed such obligations, and with respect to States Parties to the Covenant, in light of Article 2(1). The United States is not party to that Covenant, and the rights contained therein are not justiciable as such in U.S. courts.
With respect to preambulatory paragraph 5, we are pleased to reaffirm the human rights of all, including refugees and migrants, regardless of status. However, we must dissociate from the language in this paragraph reaffirming the New York Declaration and reiterate the understandings expressed in the United States’ explanation of position on that declaration, which is available as UN Document Number A/71/415.
With respect to operative paragraph 10, we understand the reference to international obligations and commitments in that paragraph to mean that if a state carries out the stated actions related to hazards and disasters, it should do so in a manner consistent with its applicable international obligations or commitments; it should not be understood to suggest the existence of particular obligations to implement the actions described.
Other concerns regarding this resolution, such as those regarding the Sustainable Development Goals and the right to development, will be addressed in the United States’ general statement delivered at the end of Item 3.