Explanation of Vote on a Third Committee Resolution on Human Rights and Cultural Diversity

Eric Merron
U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
November 7, 2023


Thank you, Chairperson.

As the United States has stated previously, we continue to support the promotion of cultural pluralism, tolerance, cooperation, and dialogue among individuals from different cultures and civilizations. The United States believes that societal diversity contributes to a country’s strength, and diversity within institutions make them more creative and capable of dealing effectively with modern-day problems in an interconnected world. We also firmly believe that States are responsible for complying with their obligations under international human rights law. The UN Charter commits us to achieve international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction to race, sex, language, or religion.

Communities that have been historically underserved, in the United States and many other countries, have played an extremely important role in shaping our history and our world – a role that was long unacknowledged and is only now beginning to be fully appreciated.

Despite our commitment to cultural diversity and the important role played throughout the world by communities of different backgrounds, we are concerned that the concept of “cultural diversity” expressed in this resolution could be misused to elevate a particular nation, people, or social group above another and legitimize human rights abuses. Efforts to promote “cultural diversity” should not infringe on the enjoyment of human rights, nor justify unreasonable limitations on their scope. This resolution misrepresents the relationship between “cultural diversity” and international human rights law by raising the concept of cultural diversity to the level of an essential objective, while also failing to reflect potential concerns about its misuse.

Furthermore, in this context we do not believe UNESCO should take up initiatives that are proposed in this resolution aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue on human rights and do not support the resolution’s request for a report to be prepared on the implementation of this resolution.

For these reasons, we request a vote, and we will vote against this resolution.

Thank you, Chairperson.