Explanation of Position on Agenda Item 15, Culture of Peace, December 17, 2012

Laurie Shestack Phipps
Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs 
New York, NY
December 17, 2012




AS PREPARED  

Mr. President, the United States firmly supports efforts to foster peacebuilding, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and interreligious and intercultural dialogue and cooperation. We are pleased to be joining consensus on all three of the resolutions under the agenda item on the culture of peace.

The United States strongly believes in encouraging a culture of peace through the adoption and promotion of values based on freedom, justice, democracy, and human rights that reject violence and address the root causes of conflict. We are encouraged by the consensus-based efforts to promote tolerance, solidarity, dialogue, reconciliation, and respect for cultural diversity.

As a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, the United States also believes that dialogue, understanding and cooperation among and between members of different religious and cultural backgrounds is important to the development of peaceful and harmonious relations between groups and between states.

We understand that draft resolution A/67/L.44 on the promotion of interreligious and intercultural dialogue reaffirms the international community's recognition that Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its entirety provides the international framework for protection of freedom of expression. In this regard, the United States reaffirms our well-known position that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression should be afforded the maximum possible protection.

With respect to language in OP 6 of that resolution, the United States would also highlight our understanding that this paragraph refers to human rights obligations to which states have consented, and having willingly entered into such agreements, they must comply with these obligations.

We support the intent behind the declaration of an International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures. With regard to financial implications of conducting the activities that the International Decade will entail, we would note that as lead agency, UNESCO will be responsible for supporting many of those activities. The necessary decisions on committing resources to support those activities properly belong to the UNESCO General Conference and Executive Board.

Turning to draft resolution L.46 on the follow-up to the Declaration and Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, the United States would like to express its appreciation for the recognition of International Jazz Day, which uniquely contributes to a culture of peace. Jazz music has been a medium for bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and cultures for decades around a shared interest and enthusiasm for this art form. We look forward to continuing to work together to build mutual understanding, including through next year's celebrations of international jazz day to be hosted in Istanbul, and through activities throughout the world promoting peace.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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PRN: 2012/296