Joint Statement on the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action
Item 8 General Debate
Statement As Delivered by Ambassador Michèle Taylor on behalf of over 70 Countries
Delegation of the United States of America
UN Human Rights Council 49th Session
March 25, 2022
Thank you, Mr. Vice President.
I read this statement on behalf of a diverse, cross-regional group of over 70 countries.
When the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action was adopted in 1993, it was a time of great change. As the world order that had guided our relations for half a century was undergoing profound transformation, the Members of the United Nations realized the importance of reaffirming their commitment to the purposes and principles reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Human Rights Covenants, the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter, and the UN Declaration on Friendly Relations.
The UN Charter sets forth the purposes of the United Nations and the principles by which its Member States shall act. Article 2(4) states that “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
The UN Declaration on Friendly Relations, adopted by consensus at the General Assembly, expounds the principle of sovereign equality of States. This principle includes six elements: “States are judicially equal; each State enjoys the rights inherent in full sovereignty; each State has the duty to respect the personality of other States; the territorial integrity and political independence of the State are inviolable; each State has the right freely to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural systems; and each State has the duty to comply fully and in good faith with its international obligations and to live in peace with other States.”
I speak to you at another moment of great change. The international legal order under which States committed to promote and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and that has contributed to peace, prosperity and freedom for so many, is under increasing challenge. In this troubled landscape, we find that the VDPA and the foundational texts it reaffirmed are no less relevant today than they were thirty years ago. For this reason, we declare today our continued commitment:
To promote and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all
To the principle of sovereign equality of states
To the prohibition against the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state
And to the duty each state bears to live in peace with other States.
I thank you.