Right of Reply to the People’s Republic of China by the Delegation of the United States of America
General Debate on the Oral Update by the High Commissioner
As Delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Kelly Billingsley
Human Rights Council – 52nd Session
Thank you, Madame Vice President. This Right of Reply is in response to the statement by the delegate from the People’s Republic of China.
I would like to start by reiterating Ambassador Taylor’s words in this room yesterday to High Commissioner Turk, that “No country is above scrutiny, including my own. The United States acknowledges your call for progress on racial justice and we are committed to deeply engaging on the issue. We applaud those states who have taken a similar approach to your recommendations.”
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 improve the situation of members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
I think we can all 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 that occurred in the past, and sought to improve, and countries that are committing crimes against humanity and genocide 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.
In addition, the United States, like most other countries, has extended a standing invitation to all thematic Special Procedures Mandate Holders. We have welcomed visits by several Special Procedures in recent years, including the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues in late 2021. The Special Rapporteur for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism recently visited Guantanamo Bay and Washington, D.C. Next month, in April, we will welcome the first visit to any country by the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement.
We call on all other countries, including the People’s Republic of China, to also extend standing invitations to all thematic Special Procedures Mandate Holders. It is only through openness, transparency, and introspection that we can address human rights issues globally and in our own countries.
I thank you.