An official website of the United States government

U.S. Explanation of Position on Racism
March 25, 2011

Explanation of position Racism

Human Rights Council 16th Session

March 25, 2011

The United States has consistently sought to support practical and concrete efforts to end racism and racial discrimination wherever it occurs. We feel there is an important role for a Special Rapporteur on racism and have worked constructively over the past several years to focus his work on ensuring that all states live up to their obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and other practical measures to bring the promise of that Convention and other instruments barring racism and racial discrimination to fruition. We cannot, however, endorse all of the provisions of the current mandate as delineated in the prior resolution, language which we believe neither reflects international law nor appropriate policy.

It is, therefore, with sincere regret that the United States must disassociate from consensus on the resolution before us. Our position on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action is well known. We have been careful to identify those parts of the Durban process that we find neither relevant nor practical in guiding the Council’s work in combating racism. We cannot endorse full implementation of the DDPA. We have also been careful to communicate the importance of balancing necessary legal protections for freedom of expression with solutions to the problem of incitement. As such, we cannot accept the language of the mandate as currently conceived.

We will continue to look for ways to balance our differences with the overriding goal we all share to eliminate racism in all its forms, wherever it occurs. We are proud of the efforts we have made in that regard and will continue to seek consensus on practical ways to make progress on that worthy objective.