Human language

United Nations Human Rights Council 48: Joint declaration on the resolution calling for action against racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance


I have the honor to make this statement on behalf of the United Kingdom and Australia.

Madam President, We remain determined in our commitment to combat all forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia and related intolerance, whether in our country or abroad. Our common commitment on this issue is strong. Discrimination of any kind has no place in society and we will continue to treat all forms of discrimination equally seriously.

Internationally, we believe that one of the most effective ways to fight injustices and advocate for respect between different ethnic groups is to encourage states to respect their human rights obligations. We pledge to commit to UN resolutions that examine how to eliminate racial discrimination. We were one of the first countries to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and we engaged constructively with its committee and the HRC working groups.

Regarding the resolution before us this morning [L3.Rev 1] we thank the African Group for taking into account some of our proposals. However, we still have a number of concerns with the text.

We do not agree with the multiple references to the Durban Conference, given historical concerns about anti-Semitism. And we cannot accept the references to the Durban Review Conference or the positive language hailing the recent commemorative event in New York.

Madam President, dear Council colleagues, the UK and Australia did not attend the recent commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Third World Conference Against Racism. There would have been almost 40 states that, like us, made the decision not to participate. We think we all need to ask ourselves why so many states have stayed on the sidelines and how we can move forward. If we are to be able to forge consensus in the future, it is clear that we need to come together to find a new approach. The importance of this subject demands that we move forward together on a common path.

Madam President, racism must be fought in all its forms and, unfortunately, for too long the United Nations has played down the scourge of anti-Semitism. It must end. The UK is clear that we will not attend future iterations of the Durban Conference as long as concerns about anti-Semitism remain.

We therefore wish to put the resolution before us to the vote and will vote against the draft text before us.

Thank you Madam President.


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