The United States stands for freedom of expression and religion or belief, said U.S. Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations Jeffrey DeLaurentis. “It is U.S. policy to support the protection of human rights as a central tenet of international peace and security, and we view efforts toward that end as foundational to the mission of the United Nations.”
“We live in a multicultural and pluralistic world. We have to work together to advance our shared humanity and the human dignity of all people. We have seen time and again that disregard for these common principles and a breakdown in tolerance give way to violence.”
Speaking at the UN Security Council’s meeting “to further the protection of universal human rights and religious co-existence and tolerance, and to counter religious intolerance and hatred,” Ambassador DeLaurentis stressed that “We cannot allow abuse of human rights or repression of political opposition under a pretext of countering terrorism or preventing violent extremism.”
“Peace and security are strengthened by upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms, not by suppressing these rights and freedoms. As the Security Council has long reaffirmed, every individual has the right to have a religion, change one’s religion, or have no religion at all, and to manifest one’s religion or belief publicly or privately.”
Additionally, the rights of women, and of marginalized communities, of LGBTQI+ persons who face discrimination, threats to their lives and livelihoods, and violence for just being themselves, must also be protected.
And finally, “If we want to live in a more peaceful world, we must stand up for and protect the essential role of civil society, including activists, journalists, and opposition politicians who are critical of our governments and do not always agree with our policies,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis.
“Peaceful political dissent is equally vital to averting conflict, and states must not misconstrue citizens exercising their freedom of expression or engaging in civic discourse to justify repression or state-sanctioned acts of violence.”
“Only through respecting fundamental human rights can we truly promote tolerance,” said Ambassador DeLaurentis. “Human Fraternity – in the words of President Biden – can build ‘a better world that upholds universal human rights, lifts every human being, and advances peace and security for all.’”