Reply to the Russia on U.S. opposition to a UN resolution on Combating the Glorification of Nazis

United States nameplate in the Hofburg Congress Center's Neuer Saal, location of many OSCE Permanent Council sessions. (USOSCE/Colin Peters)

Reply to the Russian Federation on U.S. opposition to a UN resolution on Combating the Glorification of Nazis

As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Michele Siders
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 10, 2018

Since my esteemed Russian colleague raised again the U.S. opposition to a UN resolution on Combating the Glorification of Nazis as well as hate groups in the United States, please allow me to just take a moment to repeat our clear position on these issues. I will be very brief. I would just like to correct any possible misinterpretation.

The United States categorically condemns the glorification of Nazism and all modern forms of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and related intolerance. The United States is an active partner in promoting remembrance of the Holocaust and other genocides worldwide, and continues to lead efforts to bring perpetrators of these and other atrocity crimes to justice.

More broadly, the United States condemns without reservation all forms of religious and ethnic intolerance or hatred at home and around the world.

However, due to the UN resolution’s overly narrow scope and politicized nature, this is the resolution that the distinguished Russian Ambassador mentioned, and because it calls for unacceptable limits on the fundamental freedom of expression, the United States could not support it. While we share concerns over the rise of hate speech around the globe, this resolution’s recommendations to limit freedom of expression, freedom of association, and the right to peaceful assembly contravene the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as our own U.S. Constitution. We could support efforts at the UN that directly contravene these fundamental freedoms and U.S. law.

The answer to combating the glorification of Nazism is not to curb the freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. The best way to counteract offensive speech is with more speech, not limits on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Given the challenges of the modern world, we regret that this resolution was so narrow in scope. We were also concerned that Russia continues to use this resolution to carry out political attacks against its neighbors.

Finally, Mr. Chair, I’d like to underscore that our shared commitment to respect the inherent dignity of the human person, common decency, and the lessons of history require us to condemn and combat hate in all its ugly forms. There can be no place among us for anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim and anti-Christian discrimination, or anti-Roma or racist sentiment of any kind. There can be no room for hate crimes against members of these and other communities, such as LGBTI individuals, migrants, or persons with disabilities.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.