Logo of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. Graphic: UNHCR

GENEVA, 23 August 2017 (United Nations) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has called on the Government of the United States of America, as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country.

In a decision issued under its ‘early warning and urgent action’ procedure, the Committee -- which monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination* -- stated “there should be no place in the world for racist white supremacist ideas or any similar ideologies that reject the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality.”

“We are alarmed by the  racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred”, said CERD Chairperson Anastasia Crickley.

In addition to the criminal investigation of the individual who ploughed his car into a crowd of peaceful protestors killing Ms. Heather Heyer, the UN experts asked the US authorities to undertake concrete measures “to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations.”

“We call on the US Government to investigate thoroughly the phenomenon of racial discrimination targeting, in particular, people of African descent, ethnic or ethno-religious minorities, and migrants,” added Ms. Crickley.

Acting under its early warning procedure, CERD also called on the US to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are not exercised with the aim of destroying or denying the rights and freedoms of others. It also asked US to provide the necessary guarantees so that such rights are not misused to promote racist hate speech and racist crimes.

Contact

Nicoleta Panta, +41(0) 22 9179310 / npanta@ohchr.org

UN body criticizes US “failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events”


COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
Ninety-third session
31 July - 25 August 2017
ADVANCE UNEDITED VERSION

PREVENTION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, INCLUDING EARLY WARNING AND URGENT ACTION PROCEDURES

Decision 1 (93)

United States of America

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting in Geneva at its ninety-third session, from 31 July to 25 August 2017,

Acting under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures;

Recalling the horrific events in Charlottesville of 11-12 August, 2017 leading to the death of Ms. Heather Heyer, and the injuries inflicted on many other protestors, as well as the terrible beating of Mr. Deandre Harris by white supremacists;

Alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by individuals belonging to groups of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred;

Disturbed by the failure at the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject and condemn the racist violent events and demonstrations led by the aforementioned groups, thereby potentially fuelling the proliferation of racist discourse and incidents throughout the State party, and deeply concerned by the example this failure could set for the rest of the world;

Noting the criminal investigation launched against, and the ongoing prosecution of, the individual implicated in the ploughing of his car into the crowd of peaceful protestors which led to the death of Ms. Heyer;

Emphasising that there should be no place in the world for racist white supremacist ideas or any similar ideologies that reject the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality and seek to degrade the standing of individuals and groups on the grounds of race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin, and recalling article 1 of the Convention;

Recalling its previous concluding observations of August 2014 on the United States of America (CERD/C/USA/CO/7-9) and its general recommendations No. 35 (2013) on combatting racist hate speech and No. 34 (2011) on racial discrimination against people of African descent:

  1. Calls upon the United States of America to fully respect its international obligations and in particular those arising from the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to combat and eliminate all forms of racial discrimination;
  2. Calls upon the Government of the United States of America, including the high-level politicians and public officials, not only to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and racist crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country, but also to actively contribute to the promotion of understanding, tolerance, and diversity between ethnic groups, and acknowledge their contribution to the history and diversity of the United States of America;
  3. Urges the United States of America to ensure that all human rights violations which took place in Charlottesville, in particular with regards the death of Ms. Heyer, are thoroughly investigated, alleged perpetrators prosecuted and if convicted, punished with sanctions commensurate with the gravity of the crime, and provide effective remedies to victims and their families;
  4. Recommends that the Government of the United States of America identify and take concrete measures to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations, and thoroughly investigate the phenomenon of racial discrimination targeting in particular against people of African descent, ethnic or ethno-religious minorities, and migrants;
  5. Recommends that the United States of America ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are not exercised with the aim of destroying or denying the rights and freedoms of others, especially the right to equality and non-discrimination, and that the Government of the United States of America provide the necessary guarantees so that such rights are not misused to promote racist hate speech and racist crimes.

2573rd Meeting
18 August 2017

PREVENTION OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, INCLUDING EARLY WARNING AND URGENT ACTION PROCEDURES

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