Mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Implementation of the Durban Declaration
Explanation of Vote Before the Vote by Ambassador Michèle Taylor at the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States is firmly committed to countering all forms of racism and hate, including racial discrimination and antisemitism. Sadly, the horrible truth is the dual epidemics of racism and antisemitism are pervasive and increasing. The United States continues work to counter racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia, intolerance, antisemitism, islamophobia, and bigotry, at home and abroad, including through our obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and through the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent. We will welcome a country visit by the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement, later this month, which is fitting given that it was the horrific murder of George Floyd in the United States that compelled the global community to do more to address the disproportionate effects of police violence on people of African descent globally. We already welcomed a country visit by the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues in late 2021.
We are not perfect, nor do we proclaim to be. As High Commissioner Türk put it plainly, “No country in the world is free of racism.” However, we have demonstrated our commitment to countering racism time and time again and are committed to continuing this work, as hard and ugly as it may be. At the same time, we must remain focused on countering antisemitism. We cannot and will not sacrifice one priority for the other. We regret that this resolution, which focuses entirely on Implementation of the Durban Declaration Plan of Action (DDPA), does not allow us to do both.
It is important to acknowledge that for the Jewish community, for me, the very real pain associated with the overt antisemitism, in some cases perpetrated by member states, that took place in and around parts of the Durban World Conference Against Racism and its preparatory conference. The United States honors that truth at the same time that it deepens its commitment to tackling racism. We see racism and antisemitism as two forms of hatred that cannot be fought effectively in silos.
No entity, country, or process is perfect. It is my sincerest hope that we can work together as an international community to find a way to embrace the spirit of anti-racism of the DDPA, collectively acknowledge the divisive aspects of it, and move forward jointly to do what we are here to accomplish: combat all forms of hate and elevate human rights and opportunities for all people.
Until then, I regret that the United States must call for a vote on this resolution and will vote no.
I thank you.