Statement by the United States
at the 48th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Right of Reply / Item 2
by Benjamin Moeling
U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva
Madame President, thank you for letting me take the floor.
I would like to exercise a brief right of reply. The United States has suffered a long and tempestuous history of racial discrimination. Far from trying to deny this fact, our country’s leaders have sought to confront what has been called the “founding sin” of our nation, and to seek to improve conditions for members of racial and ethnic minority groups. That is one reason we initiated a joint statement in this very room earlier this year on the urgent need for every country to combat racism and racial discrimination that gained the signatures of the vast majority of UN member states – though some countries, for reasons known only to them, feared joining us.
I think, however, we can agree there is a difference between countries that acknowledge their troubled histories, and countries that flatly and implausibly deny any wrongdoing whatsoever.
There is a difference between countries that have confronted immoral acts in the past, and sought to improve, and countries that are committing crimes against humanity in the present.
There is a difference, in short, between countries that are working genuinely to improve respect for human rights for individuals everywhere – domestically and abroad – and countries that cynically seek to use this Council to settle political scores.
I thank you Madame President.