U.S. deeply committed to protecting the rights of children and to preventing violence against children

Human Rights Council 25th Session - Geneva, Switzerland

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States issues this comment after the vote under item 3. The United States is pleased to have joined consensus on the resolution on the “Rights of the Child: Access to Justice for children” and to have co-sponsored the resolution on “Ending violence against children: a global call to make the invisible visible.” The United States appreciates the collaborative efforts of other member states during the negotiations of both texts. Our domestic efforts to strengthen existing protections for children, including under our National Action Plan for Children in Adversity, and ensure that the rights of the child are realized remain a priority for the United States.

We are glad to see that the resolution on the rights of the child calls upon states to take steps to remove barriers to children’s access to justice by ensuring their national legal systems provide effective remedies to children for violations and abuses of their rights. As this resolution also emphasizes, international cooperation is of relevant importance to supporting the efforts of each nation in ensuring child-sensitive justice. We are pleased to see specific language on vulnerable persons and persons in vulnerable situations and emphasize that LGBT persons fall within this category. The United States strongly supports any language protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, including LGBT persons, persons with disabilities, women, and indigenous persons, among others.

We thank the sponsors of this resolution for incorporating some of our suggestions into the rights of the child resolution. We were unable to co-sponsor that resolution due to concerns that the resolution calls upon States to comply with various principles that are not obligations undertaken by the United States. For example, the resolution calls upon States to ensure that life imprisonment is not imposed on individuals under the age of 18 which is not an obligation that customary international law imposes on States or that the United States has undertaken.

Our action on these resolutions today was taken with the express understanding that neither implies that states must become parties to instruments to which they are not a party or implement obligations under human rights instruments to which they are not a party. States will consider the measures recommended within this resolution in accordance with relevant international law and their own domestic laws, within their constitutional and legal frameworks. Furthermore, to the extent that it is implied these two resolution or any others this Council adopts at this session, the United States does not recognize the creation of any rights or principles that we have not previously recognized, the expansion of the content or coverage of existing rights or principles, or any other change in the current state of treaty or customary international law. Further we understand the reaffirmation in the rights of the child resolution of prior documents to apply to those who affirmed them initially.

The United States remains deeply committed to protecting the rights of children and to preventing violence against children. We look forward to continuing to work with other nations and international partners to ensure justice systems are child-sensitive and that progress is demonstrated more readily in the countries where serious challenges exist to accessing justice.

Thank you, Mr. President.

- Cross posted from the U.S. Mission to Geneva

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