Human Rights Council

Item 9 General Debate - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

26 September 2017

Thank you Mr. President,

EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice are alarmed by the rise in racial intolerance and discrimination.

Racism and xenophobia are taking on sinister forms across Europe and the USA – reflected in the proliferation of right-wing extremist parties; racist rhetoric on the part of political leaders and media outlets; and discriminatory policies. These shake the foundations of the values purportedly represented by Western democracies.

Minorities are easy scapegoats for economic crises, social disintegration, and criminality. Amidst so-called counter-terrorism campaigns, political leaders and organized racist groups ramp up racist and anti-Muslim rhetoric, fueling Islamophobia. Anti-terror policies, such as the US travel ban, breach principles of non-refoulment and non-discrimination and target the most vulnerable of society, notably migrants and refugees fleeing persecution and conflict.

People with Middle Eastern descent are disproportionately affected by such policies, and face infringements on their fundamental rights. The deepening institutionalization of discrimination amounts to crimes against humanity as recognized in the World Conference against Racism.

We call on all Member States to urgently implement measures underlined in the DDPA, particularly by counteracting hate speech and hate crimes, ensuring accountability for perpetrators and protection for victims, and rescinding discriminatory legislation. Member States must eliminate institutional racism and guarantee full equality of minorities.

Thank you.

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