An official website of the United States government

Item 9: Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance
June 16, 2009

Human Rights Council 11th Session
Item 9: follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Geneva, June 16, 2009

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States is committed to pursuing the elimination of racial discrimination at home and abroad. The United States has struggled to overcome the legacies of racism, intolerance and the effects of past discriminatory policies and persistent racist beliefs. Today we are a multi-racial and multi-ethnic democracy in which individuals have the right to be protected against discrimination based on race, color or national origin in virtually every aspect of public life. As we highlighted in our side event during this Council Session, many challenges remain, and we are committed to intensifying our efforts.

As part of this commitment, President Obama will be expanding funding for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to ensure that civil rights are protected, even during a time of economic distress. The President will also lead the fight to build a more fair and equitable criminal justice system. He will seek to strengthen federal hate crimes legislation and will work to ensure that federal law enforcement agencies do not resort to racial profiling.

The United States is dedicated to working with other nations that are similarly committed to fighting against discrimination and negative stereotyping . We are proud of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Action Plan that we launched with Brazil last spring. . The Joint Action Plan calls upon both governments to collaborate in promoting cooperation, understanding and exchange of information to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all.

We believe the United Nations must continue to address the issue of race and racism, and the United States will work with all peoples and nations to build greater resolve and political will to halt racism and racial discrimination wherever they occur. It was with regret that we did not join the recent Durban Review Conference. We are deeply grateful to the many country delegations and senior UN officials who worked steadfastly to improve the outcome document and to re-focus the Durban Review Conference squarely on the global fight to eliminate racism and racial discrimination. The United States remains fully committed to upholding the human rights of all individuals and to fighting racial discrimination in every form in every context. We will continue to work assiduously in all United Nations fora to combat bigotry and end such discrimination.

Our fervent hope is that UN Member States will work together effectively and constructively to address racism and racial discrimination. By working together and learning from one another, we can move toward the goal of the full realization of human rights for all.

Thank you.