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UN Panel Condemns Trump's Response to Racism


August 25, 2017
Marina Fang / The Huffington Post & UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The United Nations' Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has released an unusually strong warning criticizing "the failure of the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject" racism.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/united-nations-criticizes-donald-trump-charlottesville_us_599d6b01e4b0d97c40004f64

United Nations Panel Assails Trump's Refusal To Explicitly Condemn Neo-Nazis
Marina Fang / The Huffington Post



WASHINGTON (August 23, 2017) -- A United Nations panel forcefully chastised President Donald Trump's response to this month's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, writing that it was "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."

In an unusual decision released Wednesday but dated Aug. 18, the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination warned of "the example this failure could set for the rest of the world."

Without mentioning Trump by name but assailing "the Government of the United States of America, including the high-level politicians and public officials," the committee members urged the US "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."

The committee wrote the strong condemnation under its "early warning and urgent action procedures." Such a step is relatively rare and has been taken only six other times in the past decade -- sometimes in the cases of large-scale ethnic or religious violence.

The last time the panel issued such a decision was last year, when it twice criticized the government of Burundi, East Africa, for not addressing its human rights abuses. Before that was in 2014, in a decision concerning the so-called Islamic Stategroup's attacks against civilians in Iraq.

Trump received widespread condemnation for claiming there was violence "on many sides" in Charlottesville, without explicitly condemning the white supremacist groups that included Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis that precipitated the violence. More than 48 hours later, he finally issued a standard statement from the White House singling out the groups.

A day later, however, Trump essentially took back those remarks by defending his original response. In a fiery press conference, he reiterated that "both sides" were to blame and claimed that some of the violent protesters were "very fine people."

At a raucous campaign rally Tuesday night in Arizona, Trump continued to stand by his original remarks, blaming the media for distorting them and condemning reporters in perhaps stronger terms than he used for the white supremacist groups.

The UN committee also urged US leaders to "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."



Read the UN committee's full decision below.

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

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