Explanation of Vote at the Third Committee Adoption of the Human Rights and Unilateral Coercive Measures Resolution

Sofija Korac
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
November 9, 2021


Thank you, Chairperson.

This resolution does not advance respect for and protection of human rights. Simply put, it is not sanctions that are undermining respect for human rights – that responsibility lies with those who commit human rights violations and abuses. Sanctions are an important and effective tool to respond to malign behavior, promote peace, and counter terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

For instance, sanctions are designed to, among other things, promote accountability for human rights violations and abuses, corruption, or undermining democracy.

Those who point to sanctions as the problem advance a false narrative like the one 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. The 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, security, and other national and international objectives, and the United States is not alone in that view or in that practice.

We also often take extraordinary measures to minimize the potential humanitarian impact of our sanctions on vulnerable communities. Earlier this year, the United States took concrete action to minimize the impact of certain of our sanctions regimes on aid to stem the COVID-19 pandemic globally, including in Syria and Venezuela. We actively facilitate the provision of legitimate aid to the Syrian and Venezuelan people, even while Assad and Maduro actively work to restrict it. Indeed, we are the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to both countries, providing billions of dollars in aid on the basis of need. And just last month, our Treasury Department affirmed that the United States will continue to seek ways to tailor sanctions to mitigate unintended economic, humanitarian, and political impacts on non-targeted individuals abroad and support the flow of legitimate humanitarian goods and assistance.

Simply put, United States sanctions programs are designed, among other things, to prevent bad actors from taking advantage of the U.S. financial system with intent to threaten legitimate global markets or undermine respect for human rights.

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

Thank you, Chairperson.