Debate on Promoting Tolerance in the Context of Racial Discrimination

Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
as delivered by
37th Session of the Human Rights Council
March 16, 2018

Thank you to the panelists for your presentations and for joining us to discuss this important issue.

The United States firmly stands against all forms of discrimination and appreciates the summary report by the Office of the High Commissioner on the panel discussion of the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination on the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls.  Discrimination is incompatible with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In today’s world, there are few single-issue problems.  Your work to address the human rights of members of minority groups is important in facilitating peaceful and constructive inter-group relations on the basis of equality, dignity, and rights for all.  [U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson highlighted this commitment stating, “Discrimination targeting any vulnerable group undermines our collective security as well as American values… The United States remains committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons.”

The United States reaffirms our commitment to combating multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination to mark the upcoming International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  Racism against women and girls has plagued individuals around the world, the United States included.  We seek creative ways to address this issue.  Last year, nearly 80 U.S. embassies requested showings of the film “Hidden Figures”, which highlights the vital contributions of a team of female African-American mathematicians to the NASA space program.  These viewings inspired the #HiddenNoMore initiative that brought 50 women in the STEM field to Washington, D.C through the International Visitor Leadership program.  U.S. embassies have also hosted female alumni of State Department exchange programs who are leaders in the African American community or minority communities in their home countries to discuss the themes of gender, race, science, and social inclusion.

We appreciate the recommendations delivered by the panelists and will continue striving to achieve equality and human dignity for all individuals both domestically and internationally.  Thank you.

Question:  How can governments more effectively address multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination?