Statement on Agenda Item 70 (b) ‘Human Rights and Cultural Diversity’

Sofija Korac
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 18, 2019


Thank you, Chairperson.

The United States continues to support the promotion of cultural pluralism, tolerance, cooperation and dialogue among individuals from different cultures and civilizations. We also firmly believe that all governments are responsible for protecting the rights and freedoms set forth in international human rights law. The UN Charter commits us to achieve international cooperation in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction to race, sex, language, or religion.

Cultural diversity has shaped our own country’s history. We are concerned, however, that the concept of “cultural diversity” as put forward in this resolution could be misused to legitimize human rights abuses. Efforts to promote cultural diversity should not infringe on the enjoyment of human rights, nor justify limitations on their scope. This resolution misrepresents the relationship between cultural diversity and international human rights law by raising the concept of cultural diversity to the level of an essential objective, while also failing to reflect such potential concerns about its misuse.

Furthermore, in this context we do not believe UNESCO should take up initiatives aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue on human rights and do not support the resolution’s request for a report to be prepared on the implementation of this resolution.

For these reasons, we request a vote and we will vote against this resolution.

Thank you, Chairperson.