Explanation of Vote on Forum on People of African Descent in the Diaspora

Forum on People of African Descent in the Diaspora
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper

The United States is deeply concerned about racism in all its forms.  We support the Decade for People of African Descent.  We endorsed its recommendation to create a Forum for People of African Descent.  Given our belief in the purpose of this resolution, we would have liked to have been able to support it.

However, we regret the refusal of ‎the lead sponsor, South Africa, to negotiate in good faith and accept reasonable suggestions. Moreover, our well-known concerns about the Durban Declaration and Program of Action will not allow us to support this text.  We also strongly believe that human rights protect all persons universally – so the Council should not propose a possible program for the Forum that could be misinterpreted as providing less protection to persons from Africa than persons from other continents.  Further, we believe that this resolution leaves unfulfilled the request that the General Assembly made to this Council in the Programme of Action for the Decade of People of African Descent, because the Independent Eminent Experts is defunct and has no annual sessions.  Finally, we are concerned about the undetermined, but potentially high, costs of the regional consultations this resolution recommends.  For these reasons, while we support the objective of establishing a Forum, we will call for a vote, and vote no on this resolution.  We will continue to press the General Assembly to establish the Forum in a manner that is more faithful to its own mandate.

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