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Diplomacy in Action

22. U.S. delegation vote explanation for UN General Assembly Resolution 57/190, Rights of the Child (October 28, 2002)


Explanation of Vote
Rights of the Child
Agenda Item 105 L.25 Rev 1

Mr. Chairman,

In countless ways, the United States demonstrates daily throughout our country and the world our strong commitment to the promotion and the protection of the human rights and welfare of all children. All countries, including the United States, can and should do more in this regard, but we do not accept that any Member State or group of States has any basis for asserting a superior status in the field of children's welfare.

With respect to draft resolution L.25, we had certainly hoped that this year we would be able to support a consensus resolution on the Rights of the Child in this Committee. Through endless consultations and negotiations, we made every effort to achieve that result.

Unfortunately, the principal sponsors of the resolution were not willing to address our legitimate concerns, the same concerns that were successfully negotiated during the United Nations Special Session on Children.

Mr. Chairman, the United States remains firmly committed to the betterment of children nationally and internationally. As a nation, we place the highest priority on the well- being of all children. However, we believe that neither the negotiating process on this resolution nor the final product, despite its excessive length, contribute significantly toward achieving that objective.

The United States also voted against this resolution because of our profound disagreement on the following points:

  • Preambular paragraph 2, paragraph Section I 1, and paragraph Section IV 9 contain formulations concerning the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which we do not agree. We are not a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We do not agree that there is a need for universal ratification of the Convention nor do we accept an obligation to implement its provisions. We do not accept it as the standard for protecting children's rights. In practice, the rights and protections that children enjoy in the United States through a multi-tiered system of national, state, and local laws meet or exceed most of those enumerated in the Convention. Ultimately, decisions on becoming a Party to any multilateral treaty rest with each State as a matter of sovereignty. We have exercised that right in recently ratifying what we consider to be quite valuable treaties concerning children, namely the optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and ILO Convention Number 182 on the worst forms of child labor.
  • Second, the resolution insists that all countries recognize the contribution that the establishment of the International Criminal Court has made to the protection of children. The United States acknowledges that the States Parties to the Rome Statue have begun the process of creating the ICC. The United States is not a Party, does not agree with the statement made about the ICC in this resolution, and does not see the need to mention the ICC at this time in a resolution on the rights of children.

For these reasons, the United States has decided to vote against the draft resolution on the Rights of the Child, L.25.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman

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