Explanation of Position on a Resolution on Protecting Children from Bullying

Jennifer Barber
Special Advisor and Public Delegate
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 16, 2020


The United States is pleased to join consensus on this resolution on protecting children from bullying. Governments, communities, and families each have important roles in preventing bullying, protecting children, and helping to foster their health, emotional well-being, and development. The consequences of bullying, including cyber bullying, can be dire. Promoting the values of empathy and communication is crucial to laying a foundation for kindness, mindfulness, integrity, and leadership as adults. Our First Lady has made a focus on bullying a priority of hers. We thank Mexico for its leadership on this text, and for running a transparent and efficient negotiating process.

With regard to the education references in the text, we note that in the United States decisions and actions are taken as appropriate and consistent with our respective federal, state, or local authorities.

The United States understands that General Assembly resolutions do not change the current state of conventional or customary international law. Nor does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself create legal obligations. We do not read this resolution to imply that states must join or implement obligations under international instruments to which they are not a party, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the United States understands that any reaffirmation of the Convention applies only to those states that are a party to it.

The United States refers you to our general statement made on November 13 to further clarify our views on issues referenced in this resolution, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In several places, the resolution suggests that bullying always constitutes violence. The United States opposes all bullying, but notes that not all forms are physically violent, nor must they always have a negative impact on the fulfillment of the rights of a child.

We understand this resolution to be consistent with longstanding U.S. views regarding the ICCPR, including our position on Article 17, and interpret it accordingly.

We note that whatever measures are undertaken by States to prevent bullying need to be consistent with their human rights obligations.

We appreciate Mexico’s efforts in developing and leading this initiative. The United States remains committed to working with Member States to stop bullying, support the overall well-being of children, and provide them with the tools necessary for success as our future leaders.

Thank you.