Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 19, 2020
The United States strongly supports the objectives of addressing the issue of missing persons in armed conflict, and takes significant measures to prevent persons from going missing in armed conflict and to account for missing persons, such as through the work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
The United States also agrees that avoiding harm to civilians can help prevent persons from going missing in armed conflict and that minimizing the military use of civilian infrastructure can be an appropriate measure in this regard. The United States notes, however, that there is no obligation under international law for States to minimize the military use of civilian infrastructure.
Accordingly, we understand operative paragraph 5 to refer to the general requirement for States to act in accordance with applicable international law and not to state that international law requires States to minimize military use of civilian infrastructure.
Furthermore, we do not interpret this resolution as creating any new legal rights or obligations for States that are not party to relevant protocols.
Thank you, Chairperson.