U.S. Public Delegate
New York, New York
October 20, 2022
Madam Special Rapporteur, cultural rights and human rights should be enjoyed equally by all without fear of discrimination. The United States condemns any actions by governments or other actors that target and discriminate against individuals on the basis of their ethnic, religious, linguistic, or cultural identities.
As you have highlighted, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression has destroyed parts of Ukraine’s unique cultural heritage, an affront to the identity, history, and dignity of Ukraine’s people. Further, Russia is reportedly undermining the cultural rights of its people, including by excluding artists from cultural events and competitions who do not support the war effort and deprogramming their works of art.
The United States also remains deeply concerned by the ongoing repression of ethnic, religious, and cultural identities of members of minority groups in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The OHCHR’s report on Xinjiang outlines PRC efforts to combat and extinguish alleged “religious extremism” through policies that target expressions of Uyghur cultural and linguistic identity and Islamic religious practice.
Additionally, the PRC continues to interfere in the distinct religious and cultural identity of Tibetans, including their right to select, educate, and venerate their own leaders in accordance with their beliefs.
We remain deeply concerned about reports of ongoing mass detention on the basis of ethnicity in Ethiopia, targeted attacks on members of the Hazara community in Afghanistan and the exclusion of women and girls from participation in much of Afghan society, and continued detention and discriminatory policies targeting Rohingya in Burma based on their ethnicity and religion.
Madame Special Rapporteur, the United States asks: What tools are available within your mandate to preserve and protect the cultural rights endangered by aggressive state policies?