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Overview of the mandate

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is an independent human rights expert appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere was appointed Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in November 2011.

He also serves as Director, Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies, an independent research centre based in Nairobi Kenya. He holds a PhD in political science with a specialization in human rights. Mr. Ruteere has extensively published on human rights in particular on the thematic violence and policing, terrorism and counter- terrorism, civil wars and transitions, poverty and access to rights. He has advised state agencies, NGOs and private sector organizations on human rights. His current work at the Centre for Human Rights and Policy Studies attempts to link theoretical research with innovative policy making to address human rights issues. In addition to his two annual thematic reports, Mr Ruteere undertakes two country visits per year and subsequently reports to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly. Since he was appointed, Mr. Ruteere visited Hungary, Bolivia and Spain at the invitation of the respective Governments.

Historical background

The mandate was created in 1993 by the Commission on Human Rights through its resolution 1993/20. In 1995, the mandate was made more explicit and precise through resolution 1994/64. On 28 March 2008, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 7/34 which extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years. On 25 March 2011, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 16/33 which extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for a further period of three years in accordance with the terms of reference contained in Human Rights Council resolution 7/34 of 28 March 2008

Mandate

The Special Rapporteur has been requested by Human Rights Council resolution 7/34 to focus on the following issues:

  • Incidents of contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination against Africans and people of African descent, Arabs, Asians and people of Asian descent, migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, persons belonging to minorities and indigenous peoples, as well as other victims included in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA);
  • Situations where the persistent denial of individuals belonging to different racial and ethnic groups of their recognized human rights, as a result of racial discrimination, constitutes gross and systematic violations of human rights;
  • The scourges of anti-Semitism, Christianophobia, Islamophobia in various parts of the world, and racist and violent movements based on racism and discriminatory ideas directed at Arab, African, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other communities;
  • Laws and policies glorifying all historic injustices and fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and underpinning the persistent and chronic inequalities faced by racial groups in various societies;
  • The phenomenon of xenophobia;
  • Best practices in the elimination of all forms and manifestations of racism, racial dissemination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • Follow-up to the implementation of all relevant paragraphs of the DDPA and the promotion of the establishment of national, regional and international mechanisms to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • The role of human rights education in promoting tolerance and the elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • Respect for cultural diversity as a means to prevent racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • Incitement to all forms of hatred, taking into account article 20, paragraph 2, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and instances of racially motivated hate speech, including the dissemination of ideas of racial superiority or that incite racial hatred, taking into account article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, article 19 of the ICCPR and general comment No. 15 of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which states that the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based upon racial superiority or hatred is compatible with the freedom of opinion and expression;
  • The sharp increase in the number of political parties and movements, organizations and groups which adopt xenophobic platforms and incite hatred, taking into account the incompatibility of democracy with racism;
  • The impact of some counter-terrorism measures on the rise of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the practice of racial profiling and profiling on the basis of any grounds of discrimination prohibited by international human rights law;
  • Institutional racism and racial discrimination;
  • The efficiency of the measures taken by Governments to remedy the situation of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • Impunity for acts of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and maximizing remedies for the victims of these violations.

Working methods

In the discharge of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur:

  • transmits urgent appeals and communications to States concerning cases of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
  • undertakes fact-finding visits and subsequently publishes country reports;
  • submits annual or thematic reports to the Human Rights Council and interim reports to the General Assembly, on the activities, trends and methods of work.

Mandate holders since 1993

- Githu Muigai (Kenya), 2008-2011
- Doudou Diène (Senegal), 2002-2008
- Maurice Glèlè-Ahanhanzo (Benin), 1993-2002


In this section
Contact the Special Rapporteur

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
Email: racism@ohchr.org

 

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