OAS Adopts Declaration Condemning the Terrorist Attack in El Paso

Alternate U.S. Representative Andrew Stevenson addresses the OAS Permanent Council, August 28, 2019. (OAS Photo)

Remarks by
Alternate United States Representative Andrew Stevenson
August 28, 2019

Madam Chair, I want to begin by thanking the delegation of Mexico for placing this important issue, and complementary declaration, on the agenda of our Permanent Council.

I would like to echo the condolences of President Trump and other political leaders in the United States over the tragic shooting in El Paso, Texas on August 3. We mourn for all those who lost their lives in this senseless act of violence.

As the President observed – “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people … Melania and I are praying for all those impacted by this unspeakable act of evil”

This crime remains under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the United States is committed to a full investigation, and prosecuting those responsible, and working with our law enforcement agencies to seek to prevent future attacks.

Madam Chair, this tragedy further underscores that the United States and Mexico are united by bonds of family, and the importance of continuing to work together to ensure the well-being of the citizens of both our countries. The United States stands with the victims of these attacks, and with their families – here and in Mexico. To this end, Mexican consular officials continue to cooperate with local law enforcement various aspects of the case.

Madam Chair, this agenda item, and the related declaration, reflect the fact that we must all learn from one another to develop our tools and policies, cooperate closely, and be faster and smarter than those who would seek to perpetuate evil and hateful actions against the citizens of our hemisphere.

Simply put and as we have noted previously, Madam Chair, our shared safety depends on shared security measures. At the same time, we also know that combating racism and discrimination is a challenge every nation faces — and a challenge we can all work together to overcome.

While we are proud of the progress we have made in the United States toward reducing discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity for all, we know that we are not yet where we need to be.

In order to achieve shared prosperity and long-term security throughout our hemisphere, it is essential that all members of society can participate in political, economic, and social life and have access to opportunities.

Madam Chair, combating transnational organized crime and violence in the Americas remains a key U.S. interest, and it can only be achieved with comprehensive policies that address the impact of violence on our region’s most vulnerable populations. To this end, the Department of State is committed to promoting social inclusion and equality while advancing inclusive security and growth in the region.

We do this in part through initiatives that engage historically marginalized groups and address the underlying causes of inequality by improving access to justice, services, and economic opportunities. Bilateral initiatives on racial and ethnic equality between the United States and Colombia, Brazil, and Uruguay, which include civil society, are just some of the examples of how we explore best practices to improve racial equality across the hemisphere.

We value exchange with hemispheric partners to find solutions to common challenges.

In closing, let me reaffirm the unwavering commitment of the United States to the pursuit of justice and respect for the rule of law. Thank you very much.