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UN rights chief urges international community to target hate speech
UN rights chief urges international community to target hate speech

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein [official profile] marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Tuesday by making a statement [text] emphasizing the importance of curtailing hate speech. Highlighting the racially motivated atrocities occurring worldwide, Zeid noted how several reputable organizations have reported an increase in hate crimes, potentially due to racially charged rhetoric. He cited examples from the US:

FBI figures indicated a rise in hate crimes nationwide in 2015, a year when the US presidential election campaign—a campaign that often focused on the supposed threats posed by migrants, Hispanics and Muslims—began in earnest. Data collected by the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates that migrants, African-Americans and Muslims were the most affected by hate crimes in the immediate aftermath of the election.

Zeid concluded his remarks by urging states to adopt new legislation “expressly prohibiting racist hate speech, including the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination, and threats or incitement to violence.”

Racial discrimination has been an international issue. Last year a UN human rights expert called on all Australians to end racial discrimination within the country. UN Special Rapporteur on racism Mutuma Ruteere asked [JURIST report] the country to strengthen efforts to end racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination within the country. Also last year, the Dutch district court of Haarlem said [JURIST report] that Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch right wing political party, Party for Freedom, was convicted of inciting discrimination. The incident in question happened in March 2014 during a political rally, where Wilders promised to reduce the number of Morrocans in the Netherlands.