Explanation of Position: A/HRC/26/L.11 on Roma
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Geneva, June 26, 2014
Thank you Mr. President.
The United States strongly supports the claimed purpose of this resolution, that is, that the Council’s attention should be directed to the difficult human rights situations that many Roma persons face.
We have engaged proactively with the sponsor in an attempt to join consensus on this text and are disappointed that our essential edits were not considered.
Due to problematic portions of the text, the United States must disassociate from consensus.
We highlight a few of our significant concerns about this text.
First, the text could be read to suggest that human rights are embedded in the Roma as a group, rather than in Roma individuals.
Roma persons, just like all persons, possess human rights that adhere to them as individuals.
It is essential that attention to the human rights challenges these persons face be characterized as such.
Furthermore, the text contains numerous problematic references to a term that is not well-defined, “anti-Gypsyism.”
The text goes so far as to state that anti-Roma rhetoric and violent attacks against Roma are a new phenomenon.
Such an assertion is not historically accurate.
It fails to account for the long, troubled history that Roma individuals and communities have faced, including the murder of millions during the Holocaust, and centuries of brutal oppression prior to that time.
We look forward to future appropriate action on Roma issues at this Council.
We hope that future engagement will include representation from Roma civil society from the many regions where Roma persons live, including Russia, other parts of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.