Explanation of Position on a Resolution on the International Day for Peoples of African Descent

Mordica Simpson
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 19, 2020


The United States remains firmly committed to addressing issues of racism and racial discrimination, both within our borders and around the world. No one should be denied their fundamental freedoms and human rights because of their race or ethnicity. We look forward to continuing to work with the UN to promote respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons.

However, the United States must dissociate from preambular paragraph 5, because it distracts from the intent of this important resolution by focusing on the Human Rights Council’s divisive June 2020 resolution that targeted the United States’ record on policing and race. In his June 20 statement, Secretary Pompeo criticized the Council’s failure to urge authoritarian regimes to hold their nations to the same high standards of accountability and transparency as the United States applies to itself. As Secretary Pompeo said, the United States “is serious about holding individuals and institutions accountable, and our democracy allows us to do so.”

In addition, we are concerned with this resolution’s reference to and incorporation of language from the Durban Declaration and Program of Action, which includes endorsement of overbroad restrictions on freedom of expression and gives vent to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic voices. The United States recognizes the pernicious effects of racism throughout society and is committed to working fully with the multilateral system to continue to make progress in this area in more inclusive, non-divisive, and constructive ways.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we addressed our concerns in a previous statement on Third Committee resolutions that we delivered on November 13.

Thank you.