Explanation of Vote following the Adoption of UN General Assembly Resolution on Moderation

Hector Brown
U.S. Mission to the United Nations

New York City
December 8, 2017


Thank you, Chair.

The United States of America strongly believes in working together to build a more secure and peaceful world through the promotion of justice, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as by rejecting violence and addressing the root causes of conflict. However, the United States has serious concerns about the Moderation Resolution.

For instance, the United States cannot accept language in operative paragraph three that calls on the international community to support the “Global Movement of Moderates” due to concerns about the current capacity of the Government of Malaysia’s Global Movement of Moderates Foundation to conduct proposed activities.

The United States also reaffirms our well-known position that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression should be afforded the maximum possible protection, and our support for the freedoms of expression and religion, including respect for the right to freedom of thought, conscience, or belief.

In that regard, we are unable to support language in operative paragraph one that does not distinguish between “extremism”—which may be subjectively applied to certain groups and can be used to suppress the exercise of the freedoms of expression and religion, as well as other human rights and fundamental freedoms—and violent extremism, which we universally oppose.

Furthermore, the word “moderation” remains undefined in international law and in our discussions, and we are concerned that the implementation of moderation-focused programs and policies will be subject to abuse. We are concerned that states and individuals can construe moderation to justify undue restrictions on expression or religion, both of which would contradict internationally recognized rights.

The United States believes in working together to protect human rights and to help ensure that member states’ actions to counter violent extremism are not counter-productive.

Thank you.