d) General recommendation No. 35: Combating racist hate speech (2013)
(Adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the Eighty-third Session, CERD/C/GC/35, 26 September 2013)
III. Resources of the Convention
8. The identification and combating of hate speech practices is integral to the achievement of the objectives of the Convention — which is dedicated to the elimination of racial discrimination in all its forms. While article 4 of the Convention has functioned as the principal vehicle for combating hate speech, other articles in the Convention make distinctive contributions to fulfilling its objectives. The due regard clause in article 4 explicitly links that article with article 5, which guarantees the right to equality before the law, without racial discrimination in the enjoyment of rights, including the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Article 7 highlights the role of “teaching, education, culture and information” in the promotion of interethnic understanding and tolerance. Article 2 incorporates the undertaking by States parties to eliminate racial discrimination, obligations that receive their widest expression in article 2, paragraph 1 (d). Article 6 focuses on securing effective protection and remedies for victims of racial discrimination and the right to seek “just and adequate reparation or satisfaction” for damage suffered. The present recommendation focuses principally on articles 4, 5 and 7 of the Convention.
30. Whereas the provisions of article 4 on dissemination of ideas attempt to discourage the flow of racist ideas upstream, and the provisions on incitement address their downstream effects, article 7 addresses the root causes of hate speech, and represents a further illustration of the “appropriate means” to eliminate racial discrimination envisaged in article 2, paragraph 1 (d). The importance of article 7 has not diminished over time: its broadly educational approach to eliminating racial discrimination is an indispensable complement to other approaches to combating racial discrimination. Because racism can be the product of, inter alia, indoctrination or inadequate education, especially effective antidotes to racist hate speech include education for tolerance, and counter-speech.
38. The Committee recommends that educational, cultural and informational strategies to combat racist hate speech should be underpinned by systematic data collection and analysis in order to assess the circumstances under which hate speech emerges, the audiences reached or targeted, the means by which they are reached, and media responses to hate messages. International cooperation in this area helps to increase not only the possibilities of comparability of data but also knowledge of and the means to combat hate speech that transcends national boundaries.