General Debate under Item 9:
General Debate Item 9: Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration
19 March 2019
Oral Statement by: International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice wish to reiterate recommendations already taken to initiate discussions and actions in preparation of the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
The lack of commitment of the international community is evident in the increase of hate speech and hate-related crimes. Hate speech by political representatives have an important impact on society, since they give legitimacy to discriminatory behaviours. It also contributes to widespread xenophobia and forms of intolerance that play a crucial role in the increasing commission of hate crimes around the world.
The recent terrorist attack in the Mosques in New Zealand, which we strongly condemn, is just one example of this trend. The hate speech pronounced by a political representative clearly attempted to provide an excuse to violent acts, blaming the victims and the immigration system instead of rejecting the conduct itself and framing such incidents as harmful to society.
Mr. President, EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice believe that it is important that States engage themselves in the enactment of domestic legislation aimed at defining and criminalizing racist and xenophobic hate speech in accordance with international standards.