Taken Question
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 26, 2009


Question: Why did the United States vote against a resolution which was adopted recently at the General Assembly of the U.N. on the inadmissibility of the glorification of Nazism and to prohibit the description of Nazi collaborators during World War II as national liberation movements?

Answer: In November 2008 Benin, Cuba, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan,Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Zimbabwe put forward the draft resolution
Inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to the General Assembly, which passed with 122 yes votes. The United States and the Marshall Islands voted against, with 54 abstentions.

The United States shares the repugnance at any attempt to glorify or otherwise promote Nazi ideology. However, this resolution fails to distinguish between actions and statements that, while offensive, should be protected by freedom of expression, and actions that incite violence, which should be prohibited.

The United States remains convinced that governments should not punish speech, even that which is deemed offensive or hateful. In a free society hateful ideas fail on account of their own intrinsic lack of merit. Curtailing expression is not a viable or effective means of eliminating racism and related intolerance.



PRN: 161