Explanation of Position on a Third Committee Resolution on the Enhancement of International Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights

Eric Merron
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 7, 2023


The United States continues to support increased international cooperation to further the protection and promotion of human rights.

However, we must dissociate from preambular paragraph 5, because of the incorrect assertion that the enhancement of international cooperation is essential for the effective promotion and protection of all human rights. While international cooperation may help promote the implementation of human rights, each individual State maintains primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights. States’ human rights obligations and commitments are not contingent upon international cooperation. So, the absence of cooperation does not justify or excuse the failure to honor these obligations and commitments; similarly, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. We further note that Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action is a nonbinding document that does not create obligations for States, while noting that its nonbinding nature does not undermine the value of its important goals.

Additionally, the United States and others have longstanding concerns with particular elements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action that single out the State of Israel and include overbroad restrictions on freedom of expression.

Thank you.