Explanation of Position on the Second Committee Central Asia Radiation Threat Resolution

Courtney Nemroff
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 21, 2018



Mr. Chair, the United States is delighted to co-sponsor this resolution, and to highlight several key themes in the resolution on preventing the radiation threat in Central Asia being presented by Kyrgyzstan. These include the importance of the Strategic Master Plan for environmental remediation at the sites of former uranium facilities in Central Asia [PP9]; the importance of keeping the public informed in a timely manner when conducting work on the prevention of the radiation threat in Central Asia [PP13]; the ongoing serious social, economic, and environmental problems that continue to be associated with former uranium mines and tailings ponds in Central Asia, despite efforts to remediate them [PP14]; and the need for a coordinated approach, including multilateral initiatives, in efforts to remediate former uranium production facilities [PP17].

We note that our views on the “right to life” remain unchanged, and that the United States does not interpret the “right to life” as entailing a state obligation to protect life from all foreseeable threats to life, including environmental threats. Related issues addressed in this resolution remain unchanged. Moreover, we note that the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights provides that each State Party to that Covenant undertakes to take the steps set out in Article 2(1) “with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights.”

Thank you.