Nothing justifies US withdrawal from UNESCO, say leading S&Ds

Unesco

Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament regret Washington's announcement that the US is withdrawing from UNESCO by 31 December 2017. The allegations of the organisation being pro-Palestinian and the candidacy of a Qatari diplomat to replace outgoing UNESCO director general do not justify this decision.

 

Petra Kammerevert, who is an S&D member and chair of the Culture Committee in the European Parliament, said:

“With the US retreat from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, Donald Trump isolates his country further. Isolation doesn’t solve any potential problem or disagreement. Dialogue and engagement do.

“The process to select the next director general of UNESCO is still on-going, so this is only an excuse from the Trump administration. I agree that there is always room for improvement in the structure of UNESCO, but only by engaging can you change it.”

 

Silvia Costa, who is the S&D spokesperson on culture, added:

“Globalisation requires more dialogue, not less. More multilateralism, not less. That is the essential purpose of UNESCO, building a common ground through cultural dialogue to advance towards a culture of peace in diversity. It is at times of tensions that culture can play a crucial role.

“It is very troubling that the United States withdraws from an organisation that fosters international cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture, one that promotes worldwide respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It sends a bad signal to the world. We regret that it didn’t join the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.”