Explanation of Position on a Third Committee Resolution on Countering Terrorism and Promoting and Protecting Human Rights

Timothy Johnson
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 14, 2023


Thank you Chair.

The United States thanks Mexico and Egypt for their continued efforts in the UN system to address the critical issue of promoting and protecting human rights while countering terrorism.

The United States remains concerned, however, that the resolution does not reflect important updates or Member State-agreed language from other UN bodies charged with these issues – most importantly, the eighth review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy adopted in June – and risks becoming obsolete.

Additionally, the United States disassociates from OP15. We fully support increasing humanitarian assistance and access for those in need consistent with both counterterrorism and humanitarian imperatives. We agree that Member States, when designing and applying counterterrorism measures, should take into account the potential effect of those measures on exclusively humanitarian activities, including medical activities, that are carried out by impartial humanitarian actors in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law.

While underscoring our support for the critical role humanitarian actors play, we emphasize that there is no obligation under international law that requires the completely unrestricted delivery of humanitarian or other assistance to terrorist groups or individual terrorists at all times. We must also underscore that paragraph 15 has no impact upon the binding obligation, which requires Member States to ensure their laws establish criminal offenses that provide the ability to prosecute and penalize the willful financing of terrorist groups and individual terrorists for any purpose, even in the absence of a link to a terrorist act.

Further, the United States dissociates from OP31 given it could hinder speech beyond the narrow exceptions to freedom of expression under the U.S. Constitution and Article 19 of the ICCPR. We remain committed to cooperating to counter violent extremist propaganda and

incitement to violence on the Internet and social media and believe the term “preventing” could be used to support excessive restrictions on speech, particularly online.

Thank you.