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Diplomacy in Action

24. Explanation of the U.S. vote on UNGA Resolution 186, "The right to food" at the UN General Assembly (December 22, 2003)


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US Explanation of vote - Resolution AIC.3/58/L.70
The right to food
Agenda Item 117b - Human rights questions

Mr. Chairman,

Although the United States government agrees with much that is stated in this resolution and, by its actions, has proven its profound commitment to promoting food security around the world, it cannot support this resolution as drafted.

As delegations are aware, the United States has consistently taken the position that the attainment of any "right to adequate food" or "right to be free from hunger" is a goal or aspiration to be realized progressively that does not give rise to any international obligations or diminish the responsibilities of national governments to their citizens.

In light of this long-standing view, the current resolution contains numerous objectionable provisions, including inaccurate textual descriptions of the underlying right, and unduly positive references both to General Comment 12, released in May 1999 by the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and to certain actions by the Special Rapporteur.

We hope in future years that the sponsors of the resolution will accommodate our proposed suggestions so that we can join in the adoption of a resolution on this tremendously important subject.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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