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Diplomacy in Action

23. Explanation of the U.S. vote on UNGA Resolution 172, "The right to development" (December 22, 2003)


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US Explanation of vote - Resolution A/C.3/58/L.52
The right to development
Agenda Item 117b - Human rights questions

Mr Chairman,

The United States opposes this resolution, and therefore has called for a vote. Our opposition to this measure stems from the key fact that it continues to present the concept that lack of development justifies the denial of internationally recognized human rights. This concept stands the whole issue of development on its head. The key factor affecting whether or not nations develop is the extent to which they enjoy good governance which permits individuals to develop their talents and their intellects to the maximum extent, which allows them to speak and associate freely with one another, and which allows them to regularly choose their representatives in government - in short, whether governments afford their people basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Moreover, we oppose the call in this resolution for extensive studies and resources so that the Sub-commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights can prepare a concept document on a legally binding instrument on the Right to Development. The devotion of scarce resources for such an effort is unwarranted in view of the fact that any such legally binding instrument is unlikely to ever garner significant support.

The United States cannot support the call to make progress on realizing the Right to Development. There is no internationally-accepted definition of such a right. Making such a call is premature and irrelevant.

Therefore, the United States requests a vote on this resolution and will vote "no."

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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