Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on People of African Descent

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

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 26, 2017

Thank you Mr. Vice President.

The United States acknowledges the report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent and is committed to working with our global partners in order to promote the enjoyment of human rights as well as racial equality and social inclusion for people of African descent on an international scale.

We know that no country is perfect, and we must all work to address and eliminate racism, intolerance, and racial divides in our societies, both domestically and internationally.   As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently stated, “One of America’s defining characteristics is the promise of opportunity for advancement regardless of your skin color, how much money your parents make, or where you came from.”  In the United States, we believe that success should not be limited by one’s background, but rather defined by one’s character and resolve.  For this reason, we note with appreciation the actions taken by the Working Group to address issues such as racial inequality, discrimination, and violence faced by persons of African descent worldwide.

Moreover, we continue to recognize that States bear the primary responsibilities for protecting and promoting the human rights of all individuals, including members of historically marginalized groups.  We take note with satisfaction that your report routinely calls upon States to take the initiative in this regard.

Finally, we commend your report for including illuminating information on the struggles faced by people of African descent in various world regions.  While the United States recognizes that racial injustice is an issue that must be overcome within our own borders, we remain committed to helping our global partners face this challenge as well.  Our bilateral action plans with a variety of countries in the Western Hemisphere serve as models to promote racial and ethnic equality in access to education, health, economic opportunities, the justice system, and sustainable development.

Working Group members: Your report mentions that you aim to increase participation levels of persons of African descent in civil society initiatives through “innovative ways, such as the use of modern technology.”  Could you further elaborate on the details of those ways and suggest some ways States could go about implementing them?