Explanation of Position on A/C.3/72/L.17/Rev.1 on Violence against Women Migrant Workers

Laurie Shestack Phipps
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs
New York City
November 20, 2017


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The United States deplores violence against women, including against migrant women workers. Our federal laws and policies contain strong provisions to combat violence against women, including women migrants, and have many protections for migrant workers. We also have a range of legal authorities and policy initiatives to protect and assist victims of trafficking in persons, including forced labor.

We would like to clarify our views on several elements in the text and state for the record our dissociation from consensus on preambular paragraph 6.

We underscore our understanding that none of the provisions in this resolution create or affect rights or obligations of States under international law. The United States, like all sovereign nations, has the fundamental right to establish a lawful system of immigration free from the influences and desires of other States. The commitments in the resolution will not supersede U.S. law and policy and the federal government’s authority to act according to its sovereign interests. In pursuing these goals, the United States will continue to take steps to ensure its national security and territorial sovereignty, and to prioritize the well-being, health, and safety of its people, including by exercising its rights and responsibilities to prevent irregular migration and control its borders, consistent with its international obligations.

In addition, for the same reasons articulated in our Explanation of Position on the “Protection of Migrants” resolution, we are dissociating from consensus on preambular paragraph 6, concerning the New York Declaration. We request that these dissociations be reflected in the record for this meeting and for this resolution.

Otherwise, with regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we addressed our concerns in a General Statement delivered on November 20.

With respect to the language in operative paragraph 10, and as we have underscored in our separate General Statement, we do not read this resolution to imply that States must join human rights or other international instruments to which they are not a party, or that they must implement those instruments or any obligations under them. Among other things, this understanding applies to this resolution’s references to the principle of the best interests of the child derived from the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this regard we would further reiterate that any reaffirmation of prior documents in this resolution and other resolutions apply only to those States that affirmed them initially.

With respect to the list of protections and services listed at the end of operative paragraph 22, we underscore that protection is not guaranteed for every migrant. Migrants must meet certain criteria to be granted certain programs and services under national laws. We reiterate the importance for States to proactively identify trafficking victims and provide them with access to protection and basic health and other services

Thank you.