Closing Statement by Ambassador Michèle Taylor, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council, U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Presentation to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concerning the U.S. Report on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Report)
As Submitted for the Record
Madam Chairperson, distinguished members of the committee, representatives of civil society, and colleagues: thank you for the rich dialogue of these past two days on how the United States is working to eliminate racial discrimination and how we can do better. Quite simply, we must do better.
It has been my honor to lead this delegation alongside my colleague Special Representative Desirée Cormier Smith.
The Biden-Harris administration, represented by many of us here, is deeply committed to the elimination of racial discrimination in the United States using all the levers at our disposal. These past few days have given us new ideas and new energy as we continue that work.
The United States takes our treaty obligations seriously and we deeply appreciate the many thoughtful contributions from this committee. You heard today many of the concrete ways we are meeting our obligations under the Convention, and our pledge to do more. Know also that our government agencies meet with one another regularly in interagency policy committee meetings including at the cabinet level, which are convened by the White House as an additional tool to implement the committee’s recommendations.
One of the values that defines us as Americans is standing against hate and discrimination whenever and wherever they occur. But we are painfully aware that our history is colored by systemic and institutionalized racism. We hope the many positive initiatives you have heard here from throughout our federal government, and from our colleagues at the state and local levels doing so much of the work on the ground, are a testimony to our commitment to achieve a more perfect union based on a bedrock of equality and justice.
I spend my time as the U.S. permanent representative to the UN Human Rights Council in a room in this very building, just around the corner from here. In our sessions we address human rights challenges around the world. But it is work like that of the last few days that gives me the true authority to speak for my country. For as I said in my opening remarks, any pledge to advance human rights around the world must begin with a pledge to advance human rights at home. When the Biden-Harris administration says that human rights is at the center of our foreign policy, it is based in that fundamental truth. Because injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
As I look back on the time this delegation has spent together here in Geneva, I think the most powerful memories for me will be from our time spent with Civil Society on Wednesday. Because without the opportunity to hear those most affected by what we are asked to implement here in this presentation speak passionately and transparently, we simply could not collectively understand the urgency in the same way. I want to reiterate our commitment that these critical dialogues are just beginning, and we encourage you to stay engaged. We see you. We hear you. And we will continue to stand with you.