Interactive Dialogue with the SR on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America, as delivered by Jason Mack

UN Human Rights Council – 35th Session
Geneva, June 19, 2017

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

The United States appreciates the Special Rapporteur’s six years of research and his work in this position to counter and prevent racism and racial discrimination.

We agree with the Special Rapporteur about the need for participation of all groups — including those previously discriminated against or marginalized — in public and political life, as well as about the importance of improving access to education and public resources, promoting equality of opportunity, and focusing on the intersection of race and gender issues.

The United States agrees that states bear the primary responsibility for protecting and promoting the human rights of all individuals within their societies, including members of racial and other minority groups and people of African descent.  It is important to meet the challenges of countering racism, xenophobia, and discrimination in the context of combating terrorism, and we agree that civil society can and should complement these efforts.  We reiterate the need to protect fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and religion or belief, in the course of countering racism and racial discrimination.

We agree with the observation that sport can play a dynamic role in promoting tolerance and understanding.  The U.S. Department of State supports numerous sports diplomacy programs and exchanges designed to improve people-to-people ties, empower underserved populations, promote inclusion and non-discrimination, and counter xenophobia.

Despite substantial recovery from the last decade’s economic crisis, there is still evidence across the globe that persistent racial discrimination reduces prosperity, increases unemployment, and can contribute to violence.  Governments that deny rights and protections to members of any group hamper economic development, public health, and social cohesion while creating an environment ripe for instability and conflict.  By contrast, protecting all individuals from violence and discrimination advances prosperity and security.

Question:  How can governments, civil society, and private actors better cooperate to facilitate an environment that fosters sustainable prosperity for all?