Explanation of Vote by Terri Robl, U.S. Deputy Representative to ECOSOC on "Glorification of Nazism: Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, xenophobia" in the 3rd Committee of the GA

Terri Robl
U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council 
New York, NY
November 27, 2012


The United States supports many elements of this resolution. We join other members of the Third Committee in expressing revulsion at any attempt to glorify or otherwise promote Nazi ideology. The United States has a deep commitment to honoring the memory of the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust, and has been a strong supporter of the UN's efforts to remember the Holocaust. We also condemn without reservation all forms of religious intolerance or hatred.

The United States shares the concern expressed in this resolution regarding the frequency of racist views expressed in any medium or forum, including on the Internet. We remain concerned, however, as in previous years, that the resolution fails to distinguish between offensive expression, which should be protected, and actions, such as discrimination and violence motivated by bias, which should always be prohibited.

We do not consider curtailing expression to be an appropriate or effective means of combating racism and related intolerance. Rather, it is our firm conviction, as reflected in the U.S. Constitution and laws of the United States, that individual freedoms of expression and association should be robustly protected, even when the ideas represented by such expression are offensive or hateful. We encourage States to refrain from invoking Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Article 20 of the ICCPR to limit freedom of expression or as an excuse for failing to take effective measures to combat racism or intolerance. In a free society, hateful ideas will fail due to their own intrinsic lack of merit. The best antidote to intolerance is not criminalizing offensive speech, but rather a combination of robust legal protections against discrimination and hate crimes, proactive government outreach to minority religious groups, and the vigorous defense of both freedom of religion and freedom of expression.


PRN: 2012/266