Explanation of Position following the Adoption of UN General Assembly Resolutions on “Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue,” and “Culture of Peace”

Hector Brown
Adviser
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
December 11, 2017

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States of America is strongly committed to encouraging a culture of peace through the promotion of justice, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as by rejecting violence and addressing the root causes of conflict. Furthermore, the United States firmly supports efforts to promote interreligious and intercultural dialogue and cooperation. However, while we are joining consensus on these resolutions, we take this opportunity to clarify important points.

Regarding the reaffirmation of the 2030 Agenda, the United States recognizes the Agenda as a global framework for sustainable development that can help countries work toward global peace and prosperity. However, each country has its own development priorities, and we emphasize that countries must work towards implementation in accordance with their own national policies and priorities.

We also note that the word “moderation,” remains undefined in international law and in our discussions, and we are concerned that the implementation of “moderation”-focused programs and policies will be subject to abuse. In particular, we are concerned that states can construe “moderation” to justify undue restrictions on expression or religion, both of which would contradict internationally recognized rights. Programs and policies implemented in the name of “moderation” must respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Furthermore, regarding language asserting that all religions are committed to peace, the United States takes no position on that statement and does not support the involvement of Member States in interpreting what commitments religions may, or may not make.

Finally, language welcoming the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Declaration on Promoting cultural pluralism and peace through interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue should not be understood as acceptance of all statements made in the Declaration, particularly for those States that are not members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

Thank you.

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