"I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union to explain our vote on the Draft Resolution contained in Document L.50. North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The EU remains fully committed to the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, including its contemporary forms as well as to the promotion and protection of human rights for all without discrimination on any grounds. We share the deep concern of the resolution's main sponsors that the objective to eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance has not yet been attained. Racism is a global scourge. No country or region is free from this phenomenon, and we have an obligation to act to eliminate it. Racism in all its forms must be tackled in a comprehensive way by taking effective measures at the national, regional, and international level in particular through the ratification and implementation of the ICERD, which is the universal foundation for efforts to prevent, combat, and eradicate racism.
The EU remains firmly committed to the primary objectives and commitments undertaken at the 2001 Durban World Conference. We do appreciate that South Africa and Guyana organized informal consultants, however, we would have wished to have a process directed towards finding a wider compromise on this resolution which is important for all regions. The adoption without a vote of a resolution on this same topic in Geneva has proven that it is possible to work together and find compromises. In this regard, the US engaged constructively, making several proposals aiming at reaching compromise. We have done so because we believe that consensus is needed to start focusing on the implementation of the resolutions. We deeply regret that, despite our constructive engagement, none of the EU's substantive proposals were accommodated in any way. We, therefore, regret to note that the draft resolution before us unfortunately did not bring us closer to the much-needed consensus. In the future, we hope for consultations that are impactful negotiations where we all work together towards consensus on these critical issues. The proposals put forward by the EU had the following main objectives.
Firstly, to reaffirm that the ICERD is and should remain the basis of all efforts to prevent, combat, and eradicate racism. Since there is no agreement upon nor any evidence that the Convention has gaps nor that it fails to address contemporary forms of racism, our focus should remain on its full and effective implementation. Therefore, we do not believe that additional instruments are needed, be it an additional protocol to the ICERD or a possible declaration on the rights of people of African descent.
Secondly, following the constructive discussions had in Geneva on the modalities of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, we have proposed more neutral language to lay the ground for a consensual adoption of a resolution defining them. The General Assembly has pronounced itself on this issue both through consensual and voted resolutions, and we believe that we should return to a consensual approach since this would better contribute to the success of this mechanism. The Programme of Activities on the Decade for People of African Descent must continue to guide our work. We, therefore, continue to reject attempts to endorse the draft Programme of Action, a document that was used as a basis for lengthy negotiations that led to the consensual adoption of the Programme of Activities of the Decade. What is the value of compromise? What is the value of negotiating for a month if agreements can be undone?
Thirdly, to ensure that the activities proposed this year by the resolution are impactful by mobilizing Member States, UN systems, civil society, and other stakeholders in a coordinated manner where we all work together closely and effectively towards the same goal of combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.
And lastly, to correctly reflect the language of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. The EU believes it is our common duty as United Nations to combat the scourge of racism. We can only do so effectively by overcoming the divisions around the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and addressing in a consensual way how we can achieve genuine progress in our common goal, a world free of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.
Given the importance and criticality of this issue for all regions, this is a Resolution that we would like to be able to support and have consensus. However, neither the present Resolution nor the consultation process move us closer to this consensus. We regret that, for the reasons just mentioned above, the Member States of the EU continue to be unable to support the draft Resolution L.50."