The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Friday issued findings concerning human rights in Argentina, Niger, the Philippines, Portugal, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan, reviewing their performance under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The report found a series of racial inequities throughout the countries reviewed.
The Committee expressed concerns regarding police violence and police profiling, noting that this had a disproportionate impact on indigenous peoples, people of African descent, and migrants. It called for legislation to outlaw these practices, and for proper investigations to be carried out, and reparations provided to, victims of these acts.
Regarding indigenous peoples, the Committee was also concerned about the lack of legislation to protect lands traditionally occupied by these communities, as well as ongoing evictions.
The Committee was deeply concerned about the reported persistence of slavery, the lack of information on the extent of this practice, and the absence of complaints, investigations, and convictions concerning such cases.
Although the Committee noted the “significant efforts made by Niger to accommodate migrants, asylum seekers and refugees” they were also concerned about the challenges faced by migrants, as rights to safety, adequate housing, and health, are often violated.
The Committee urged the Phillippines to expediate the enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Bill, in the face of disappearances, killings, violence, threats, and intimidation faced by human rights defenders and leaders of ethno-religious, ethno-linguistic, and indigenous communities.
The Committee was concerned about reports indicating that people of African descent are victims of multiple and intersectional racism and discrimination, particularly in areas such as political participation, access to employment, housing, health, education, social security, and the workplace.
The Committee called on the State party to:
Consider apologising for its role in the transatlantic slave trade and slavery practices in its former colonies and adopting specific legislation to address the lasting consequences of those practices, provide reparations for grave and massive atrocities committed, and non-repetition guarantees.
The Committee was concerned with human rights violations stemming from ongoing armed conflict, involving both the Russian Federation’s military forces and private military companies. This included reports of incitement to racial hatred and propagation of racist stereotypes against ethnic Ukrainians, and alleged forced mobilization and conscription affecting ethnic minorities, including indigenous peoples.
The Committee was also concerned that the vague definition of “extremist activity” included in their anti-terrorism legislation endangers, “the legitimate exercise of rights to freedom of expression”, thereby impacting journalists and human rights defenders. This concern comes in the wake of the recent Russian court decision to deny Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich’s appeal of detention and espionage charges.
The Committee expressed concerns that human rights defenders, civil society members and journalists belonging to ethnic minorities, as well as those advocating for their rights, are being subjected to harassment; intimidation; arbitrary detentions; unfair trials; and imprisonment.