Remarks at a Meeting of the Third Committee on Racism and Self-Determination

Gregory McElwain
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 30, 2018


Thank you Mr. President.

The United States is committed to fighting racism and condemns the spread of racist doctrines. We continue to work to eradicate racial discrimination and to defend the equality and dignity of all persons. While any kind of racism is abhorrent, we especially condemn government and state-sanctioned acts of persecution based on racial, ethnic, or religious discrimination. We seek to advance the collaboration of governments, civil society, and citizens to eliminate violence and discrimination based on racism and racist ideologies, while also protecting fundamental freedoms of speech, association.

In China, authorities are fomenting racial intolerance by restricting religious freedom and by forcing hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of Uighur Muslims in “re-education” detention camps. Chinese authorities have taken official actions to repress freedoms of speech, religion, association, and assembly in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In addition, in Tibet, Chinese authorities target monasteries, NGOs, and cultural and civic groups that seek to preserve Tibetan identity.

In Burma, we condemn ongoing human rights violations and abuses in Kachin, Shan and other states against members of ethnic, and religious minority groups. The Rohingya in Rakhine State face severe discrimination based on their ethnicity and religion. Rohingya people still living in Burma remain stateless, in part due to discriminatory provisions of the 1982 Citizenship Act.

Governments must address racism and intolerance through measures that protect freedom of expression and safeguard all fundamental human rights.

We are deeply concerned that some states advocate for limitations on freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly. We firmly believe that the best way to counteract offensive speech is with more free speech, not less.

Thank you.