Explanation of Position on a Third Committee Resolution on Addressing the Challenges of Persons Living with a Rare Disease and Their Families

Patrick Breen
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 14, 2023


The United States is very sympathetic to and supportive of the needs and concerns of the community of persons with rare diseases. We realize persons with rare diseases face many challenges and we are fully committed to championing their rights.

This resolution rightfully acknowledges the hardship millions of persons with disabilities, including persons with rare conditions, face. However, this resolution also contains provisions that do not capture the full scope of protection that persons with rare diseases and conditions should be afforded.

The United States believes this text continues to set a worrying precedent for the Third Committee. As it stands, this resolution does not maintain an appropriate nexus to existing international human rights conventions or incorporate disability framing, which is necessary to avoid the suggestion that individuals with disabilities resulting from rare conditions are somehow not a part of the disability community or covered by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Unfortunately, edits that the United States has proposed during deliberations to reflect this important nexus were not taken.

Despite these concerns, because of the importance of the subject matter we will join consensus on this resolution. For additional explanation of our positions the United States refers you to our general statement that will be posted in full on the U.S. Mission’s website and included in the Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law.

Thank you.