Statement at the 76th United Nations General Assembly Committee

Nicholas Hill
Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC
New York, New York
November 5, 2021


The United States thanks the Third Committee Bureau and delivers this statement to address cross-cutting priorities and provide important points of clarification related to resolutions which will be adopted during this session, including this resolution. For further points of clarification, we refer you to the non-truncated version of our statement which will be posted on the U.S. Mission’s website on the final day of the Third Committee session.

We note that Third Committee resolutions do not change the current state of conventional or customary international law and do not create new legal obligations. The United States understands that any reaffirmation of prior instruments in resolutions applies only to those States that affirmed them initially.

Points of Clarification

COVID-19: Our position and concerns with the treatment of COVID-related issues in resolutions will be covered in our longer statement.

2030 Agenda: The United States supports the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, and notes that the Agenda is a non-binding document that does not create rights or obligations under international law.

Trade: We underscore that trade language, discussed or negotiated by the General Assembly, has no relevance for U.S. trade policy, U.S. trade obligations or commitments, or the WTO agenda, including discussions or negotiations in that forum.

The “Right to Development”: We continue to oppose references to the “right to development” as it does not have an agreed international meaning.

Economic Social, and Cultural Rights: The United States is not a Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and the rights contained therein are not justiciable in U.S. Courts.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR): The language in these resolutions does not inform the U.S. understanding of its obligations under the ICCPR.

Education: When resolutions call on Member States to strengthen various aspects of education, including curricula, we understand these texts consistent with our respective federal, state, and local authorities.

Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Religion or Belief: The United States strongly supports the freedoms of expression and religion or belief. We oppose any attempts to unduly limit the exercise of these fundamental freedoms.

Climate: While the United States is fully engaged to make lasting progress on achieving a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, we do not believe that this amounts to a human right as understood in the ordinary sense.

Sanctions: The United States does not accept that sanctions amount to violations of human rights. Among other legitimate purposes, targeted sanctions can play an indispensable role in responding to human rights violations and abuses and threats to peace and security.

This statement applies to action on all agenda items in the Third Committee.

Thank you.