U.S. Adviser for the Third Committee
New York, New York
October 27, 2023
Thank you, Chair.
This Right of Reply is in response to the statement by the delegate from the People’s Republic of China.
I’ll begin by noting that we’re just a little perplexed. Our colleague from the PRC have repeatedly implied the United States is somehow covering up its own history and our domestic injustice. But as anyone who has listened to us in this room knows, this is simply not accurate. Over and over, we have welcomed the opportunity to discuss concerns related to racism – concerns we take very seriously and are serious about addressing.
So that’s a little strange right at the outset. But it’s even more perplexing to hear that accusation from a country that has not itself done what it is calling on others to do.
The United States believes that transparency, openness, and a willingness to examine and admit one’s own shortcomings will lead to improvement and, as our Constitution says, “a more perfect union.” To that end, President Biden has issued multiple executive orders aimed at reducing systemic racism and persistent poverty faced by underserved communities in the United States.
Civil society in the United States is allowed to operate freely and openly to draw attention to past misdeeds and ongoing challenges, even when such issues are uncomfortable. In fact, the very injustices that the People’s Republic of China delegation repeatedly calls attention to in the United States are a matter of public debate and this is largely due to our vibrant civil society and free press.
We are committed to working with the UN as well. We have issued a standing invitation to all thematic special procedures mandate holders in order to benefit from their expertise. In recent years we have welcomed visits by the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, the Special Rapporteur for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism, and the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in the context of Law Enforcement. We will also soon receive a visit by the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism.
If, as our colleagues frequently note, the people of Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong enjoy happiness and the protection of all human rights, then we would hope that the People’s Republic of China would transparently welcome special procedure mandate holders to visit.
But the People’s Republic of China does not extend these invitations.
Nor does it permit civil society to speak freely or advocate positions it sees as adverse to state interests.
Nor does it allow members of the press to report without fear, censorship and arrest.
Instead, the People’s Republic of China uses its speaking time here to distract the international community from documented evidence of crimes against humanity. Crimes against humanity. To deny the human rights abuses it is committing with impunity against its own people.
No nation, including my own, is above scrutiny. We call on the People’s Republic of China to embrace honest self-reflection rather than continual and unconvincing denials of its own human rights problems, to cease threatening Member States that raise concerns about China’s human rights practices, and to address the concerns and recommendations continually raised by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, multiple special procedures mandate holders, and the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, just to name a few.
Let us all equally and sincerely seek, in the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and from want…as the highest aspiration of the common people.”
I thank you.