Remarks at the Third Committee General Discussion on Racism and Self-Determination

Stefanie Amadeo
U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
October 31, 2017


The United States would like to reaffirm its commitment to combatting racism and racist ideology worldwide. Too many people in this lifetime and throughout history have needlessly and tragically lost their lives due to discrimination because of their race, color, ethnicity, and religion. Racism comes in many forms – in violence, mass murders, and genocide as well as in everyday intolerance, persecution, and hate. Therefore, we all have a duty to stand up, speak out, and condemn discrimination of any kind. As Ambassador Nikki Haley recently said, “Those who spew hate are few, but loud. We must denounce them at every turn and isolate them the same way they wish to isolate others.”

We are aware that combatting racism is a challenge that every nation faces, including our own, but we must acknowledge that ending racism is not achieved by government action alone – it is achieved in the hearts and minds of the people we serve. In a free society, each citizen has to choose not to hate or to tolerate those who do. And in all nations, government should not sit idly by in the face of intolerance. Instead, leaders should speak out against racism and employ domestic tools that address discrimination.

In the United States, we have established robust legal mechanisms that protect individual liberties and defend against discrimination and violence. We have a public school system that educates our children about our history and teaches the next generation of Americans the importance of respect, civil rights, and fundamental freedoms. We have developed a culture that celebrates diversity, rather than one that denounces or seeks to eliminate it.

The American spirit and the American dream are what unite us, and our differences – and the freedom to be different – make us stronger. As Secretary Rex Tillerson recently said, “Racism is evil; it is antithetical to America’s values; it is antithetical to the American idea. So, we condemn racism and bigotry in all its forms.” And because of that, we will continue to stand with those around the world who choose peace over hate.