Explanation of Vote on a Third Committee Resolution on Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures

James Strait
U.S. Adviser to the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 10, 2022


Thank you, Chairperson.

This resolution does not advance respect for or protection of human rights. Instead, this resolution serves to highlight that in the view of some States the impacts from sanctions on those responsible for human rights abuses are more important than the abuses themselves. Sanctions are an important and effective tool to promote peace, respond to malign behavior, deny financing to threats, and counter terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

For instance, sanctions can, among other things, promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses, corruption, or the undermining of democracy.

Those who point to sanctions as a problem advance a false narrative like the one outlined in this resolution. The text of this resolution inappropriately challenges the ability of States to determine their economic relations and protect legitimate national interests, including taking actions in response to national security concerns. This resolution also attempts to undermine the international community’s ability to respond to human rights violations and abuses. Economic sanctions are a legitimate way to achieve foreign policy, national security, and other national and international objectives, and the United States is not alone in that view or in that practice.

We also are committed to taking extraordinary measures to minimize the potential humanitarian impact of our sanctions on vulnerable communities. The United States has numerous humanitarian authorizations in our domestic sanctions programs that are specifically designed to ensure our sanctions impact intended targets while limiting the unintended consequences on innocent people. Secretary of State Blinken has also announced our government’s commitment to ensuring food, medicine, and humanitarian assistance are always carved out across UN sanctions regimes. We hope to work with members of the Security Council to pass a resolution achieving that goal.

Making sure our sanctions are truly targeted and smart is essential to achieving our intended goals, including preventing nefarious actors from abusing the international financial system or undermining respect for human rights.

For these reasons, we request a vote, and we will vote against this resolution.

Thank you, Chairperson.