Statement by the United States in a Third Committee General Discussion on Racism

Charles Bentley
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
October 29, 2019


Thank you Chair,

While the United States recognizes that racial injustice is an issue that must be overcome within our own borders, we remain committed to helping our global partners face this challenge as well.

Indeed, the United States bases much of its foreign programming on the belief that facilitating strong, positive relationships among groups and individuals will create an atmosphere of tolerance and inclusion. These programs, such as USAID’s “Youth Ethnic Integration,” help mitigate against the forces of dehumanization, stereotyping, and distancing, that facilitate violence and abuse.

We believe that specific involvement of youth is crucial and we act on that belief through programs such as USAID’s multiyear “Youth Against Racism” project in Israel, where U.S. support enables Arab and Jewish youth to develop their filmmaking skills as a means of addressing the racism and violence that affect their daily lives. That project is one of nine USAID projects specifically aimed at building cooperation and understanding between Jewish and Arab youth.

We are gravely concerned by state-sponsored targeting of ethnic and racial minority groups, such as China’s detention of over one million Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, and others. In Xinjiang, individuals have been stripped of their fundamental freedoms and human rights, including freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, of expression, and of religion or belief, simply because of their ethnicity and religion.

The best antidote to offensive speech is not bans and punishments, but a combination of two key elements: vigorous advocacy that challenges the premises and conclusions of racist speech and vibrant dialogue between the government and civil society. Only with the contributions and support of public advocacy groups, human rights defenders, and the public at large can all countries secure a free and equal society free of racial injustice.

We continue to look forward to efforts, singular and joint, that address racism and intolerance through measures that protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. We reiterate our commitment to combat racism and racial discrimination in order to safeguard human rights and promote international peace and security.

Thank you.