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Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
September 29, 2015

Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Human Rights Council
September 28, 2015
As delivered by Gerard Hodel

The United States of America thanks the Working Group for sharing its expertise with the Human Rights Council.  We look forward to your visit to the United States in January.  The United States is a dynamic democracy that promotes diversity while acknowledging and addressing our existing challenges.  We embrace the goals of the International Decade:  “Recognition, Justice, and Development.”

The new National Museum of African American History and Culture is scheduled to open next year in Washington, D.C.  It will recognize and celebrate the contributions of persons of African descent.   We are proud to have helped, together with Brazil, UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launch a multilateral initiative, “Teaching Respect for All,” to combat racism and promote tolerance.   U.S. embassies in countries around the world have been collaborating with national partners to host programs on many topics of mutual interest.  These include the TransAtlantic slave trade, the history of civil rights in the United States, and cultural exchanges with people of African descent living in countries throughout the Western Hemisphere and around the world.  Our partners have included governments as well as influential members of civil society.

While engaging abroad about justice, the United States is also sharing information about domestic programs.  For example, “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative President Obama announced last year, is a call to action for all members of U.S. communities to enact sustainable change through policy, programs, and partnerships to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color.  We want to ensure that all young people can reach their full potential.  The United States is also exchanging domestic experiences and collaborating with countries like Colombia on the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality.

Our development assistance efforts abroad also demonstrate a coordinated effort to empower persons of African descent.  Across Africa today, the United States is implementing major initiatives driven by a culture of innovation, including ones initiated by USAID’s Global Development Lab.  This program brings diverse partners together to discover, test, and scale breakthrough solutions to chronic development challenges.

Question:  We are interested in making sure that the time and equities that are being devoted to this International Decade make a concrete difference in the lives of persons of African descent. There are finite resources available. Are there benchmarks for success?  What measurable outcomes should we expect?