Statement on Agenda Item 70 (b) ‘Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights’

Sofija Korac
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2019


Thank you, Chairperson.

The United States is firmly committed to the promotion and advancement of global development efforts. The U.S. government collaborates with developing countries, other donor countries, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector in order to alleviate poverty and aid development efforts across all dimensions. However, the United States maintains its long-standing concerns over the existence of a “right to development” within existing human rights law.

We note that the “right to development” discussed in this resolution is not recognized in any of the core UN human rights conventions, does not have an agreed international meaning, and, unlike with human rights, is not recognized as a universal right held and enjoyed by individuals and which every individual may demand from his or her own government. Indeed, we continue to be concerned that the “right to development” identified within the text protects states instead of individuals.

States must implement their human rights obligations, regardless of external factors, including the availability of development and other assistance. Lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognized human rights. To this end, we continually encourage all states to respect their human rights obligations and commitments, regardless of their levels of development.

Additionally, the United States cannot support the inclusion of the phrase “to expand and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation.” This phrase has been promoted interchangeably with “win-win cooperation” by a single Member State to insert the domestic policy agenda of its Head of State in UN documents. None of us should support incorporating political language targeting a domestic political audience into multilateral documents – nor should we support language that undermines the fundamental principles of sustainable development.

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

Thank you, Chairperson.