Explanation of Vote by the United States of America
as delivered by Jason Mack
Human Rights Council, 37th Session
Geneva, March 23, 2018
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 accountability for those who violate or abuse human rights. The resolution before us today blatantly mischaracterizes international law and calls into question legitimate practices undertaken by many UN member states.
Sanctions, whether unilateral or multilateral, can be a successful means of achieving foreign policy objectives. As our Brazilian counterparts highlighted, the situation in Venezuela is pertinent to the discussion of this draft resolution as it is a country in which sanctions continue to be in place by some countries. 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 consistent with international law and in line with the Charter of the United Nations.
For these reasons, the United States will vote “no” on the resolution before us today and urges all delegations to vote no.