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Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism

MORNING

3 July 2012

Concludes General Debate on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

The Human Rights Council this morning started an interactive dialogue with Mutuma Ruteere, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. It also concluded the general debate on follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration.

Presenting his report Mr. Ruteere said the prevalence of racist attitudes and negative stereotyping was one of the main obstacles in overcoming racial discrimination and achieving racial equality. Prevention was key to meeting contemporary global challenges while impunity for crimes motivated by racism continued to encourage the recurrence of such acts. In recent years the Internet had become a new arena for the spreading of racist ideologies, the incitement of racial hatred and the recruitment of new members by extremist political parties. Recent incidents of violence and racism during the UEFA European Football Championship showed that racism in sport was still a serious problem. The Special Rapporteur spoke also about his visit to Hungary.

Speaking as a concerned country, Hungary expressed support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and his balanced approach in addressing complex and sensitive issues, such as the situation of Roma, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. Hungary spoke about measures taken to increase representation of minorities in public life and to improve Roma integration and conditions of administrative detention.

In the interactive dialogue, many delegations agreed that the global financial crisis had aggravated existing social problems, including racial discrimination. Racism in sport and the increasing number of extremist political parties and groups were noted as worrying phenomena which required close attention. The role of the Internet and social media in the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas was raised, while delegations asked how such modern technologies could be used to promote tolerance. It was important to use public debate to foster an inclusive environment in the early years of the educational system, to confront the sources of racism, and to present counter arguments. Other States said that linking terrorism with any specific religion was itself an act of discrimination.

Speaking in the debate on racism were Senegal on behalf of the African Group, Russia, Norway, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, European Union, Jordan on behalf of the Arab Group, South Africa, Brazil, Malaysia, Cuba, Costa Rica, Turkey, Morocco, Slovenia, Belgium, Armenia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, Egypt, Guatemala, United States, Ecuador, Argentina, Australia, Algeria and Venezuela.

At the beginning of the meeting the Council concluded the general debate on the implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which began on Monday, 2 July. A summary of that meeting can be found here.

Speaking in the debate were: Ireland, Luxembourg and Council of Europe.

The Organization for Islamic Cooperation, International Coordinating Committee of national human rights institutions, Asia Pacific Forum of national human rights institutions, and the Ombudsman of Serbia took the floor, as did the following non-governmental organizations: France Libertés: Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, World Federation of Democratic Youth, European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation, Women’s Human Rights International Association, North-South XXI, International Buddhist Relief Organization, Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, World Muslim Congress, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale – OCAPROCE Internationale, Liberation, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), International Commission of Jurists, International Committee for the Indians of the Americas (Switzerland), Indian Council of South America, United Nations Watch, Association of World Citizens, Press Emblem Campaign, Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Action Canada for Population and Development.

The Council will resume its work at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 3 July, when it will conclude the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, and hold a general debate on the agenda item on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance: follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Work. Time permitting, it will also begin an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Haiti.

General Debate on Follow-up to and Implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Ireland said the current times of increased mobility and migration had resulted in a growing diversity of cultures within societies, which required greater emphasis on human rights and dignity without distinction. Ireland supported efforts to enhance national human rights institutions and their participation in human rights mechanisms, the recognition paid in the Vienna Declaration to civil society and the impetus for the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, although it could not support any attempt to interfere with established programme and budget oversight mechanisms that operated in New York.

Luxembourg said malnutrition remained one of the main causes of mortality in the world, killing 25,000 people every day. Those human beings’ rights to life and food were being flagrantly violated. More than a million people suffered from hunger and malnutrition every day and the Millennium Development Goal to that end was seriously compromised. The Council should assume its obligations concerning that deadly reality and consider the study of the Advisory Committee on the promotion of the rights of farmers and other persons working in rural areas

Council of Europe expressed concern about the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and the manifestations of intolerance and social barriers. The European Court of Human Rights and other institutions were also concerned with that issue and the Council of Europe was ready to support its members. However, it remained the responsibility of national authorities to undertake and ensure the protection of all of their citizens against discrimination and intolerance

Organization for Islamic Cooperation said that the establishment of its Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission and its Statute, which entered into force in June 2011, constituted a significant landmark in its history. It would allow for the submission of truly expert views for consideration by Member States, and had identified the rights of women and children as priority areas of work.

International Coordinating Commission of National Human Rights Institutions said that strong and independent national human rights institutions could serve as key domestic parties to the United Nations and its mechanisms. On the issue of reprisals the Coordinating Commission underscored that it would not be deterred from its mission by attempts to threaten and intimidate those who spoke out against social injustices and human rights violations.

Asia Pacific Forum on National Human Rights Institutions said that contributions from national human rights institutions informed the discussion and decisions of the United Nations, while their work in-country helped to translate United Nations outcomes into tangible changes on the ground. The Asia Pacific Forum supported steps that the Secretary-General, the Council and other United Nations agencies were collectively taking to strengthen National Human Rights Institutions’ participation.

Ombudsman of Serbia reported on the newly adopted Belgrade Principles on the relationship between national human rights institutions and parliaments. National human rights institutions needed to be emancipated from the parliament within their constitutional powers and to remain legally accountable. There was a huge potential for complementary activities and mutual reinforcement and that was what the Belgrade Principles sought to explore.

France Libertés: Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, speaking in a joint statement, said that while most colonies had acceded to independence in the past few decades Western Sahara was still under occupation. The Council needed to take action in order to enable the people of Western Sahara to fully enjoy their rights and to enforce the relevant resolutions of the General Assembly in that respect.

World Federation of Democratic Youth, speaking in a joint statement, said that the people of Western Sahara had been denied their right of self-determination since 1975 and that effective international measures should be taken to provide effective legal protection against violations of human rights there. An international mechanism should be put in place to monitor the situation in Western Sahara and a referendum should be held.

European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation, speaking in a joint statement, noted with concern the continuing human rights violations, reported by the Special Rapporteurs, which individuals faced every day in every region because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Those violations included killings, rape, torture, and criminal sanctions. A more systematic way of addressing those violations was needed, and the adoption by consensus of a resolution on that topic by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States was welcomed.

Women’s Human Rights International Association, speaking in a joint statement, reaffirmed that anyone had the right to seek asylum. The organizations denounced the situation of 3,400 Iranian dissidents in Iraq and attacks against residents of Camp Ashraf, many of whom had moved to Camp Liberty. The Council and States were called upon to declare Camp Liberty as a refugee camp under the supervision of the High Commissioner for Refugees, and to declare their willingness to host Iranian asylum seekers in Camp Ashraf or Camp Liberty.

North-South XXI drew attention to the reference to human rights education of the Vienna Declaration, and said it hoped that the Office of the High Commissioner and States might take renewed encouragement to enhance the inclusion of the right to peace and the right to development in their education and training. Those two rights had received insufficient attention in education and training at all levels.

International Buddhist Relief Organization said caste-based discrimination was a direct assault on 200 million Dalits in India and denied them dignity and humanity. Regardless of their education or economic status the majority of Dalits were subject to daily subjugation, humiliation and exclusion form India’s mainstream caste society. The Council had to facilitate Dalits in their struggle for the right to live with dignity and self-respect.

Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy said that despite significant economic growth over the past two decades the majority of the Indian population still wallowed in extreme poverty. Statistics showed that every year 2.1 million children under five years old died of malnutrition. The Council had to take resolute and action-oriented steps to combat extreme poverty around the globe.

World Muslim Congress said that India’s denial of the right to self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir had led to a regime of human rights violations. Torture, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention and rape were some of the elements of daily life in occupied Kashmir. Reports of human rights abuses in those areas often met indifference and inaction that depicted the double standards of the international community and the Council.

Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale raised concerns about the violation of women’s rights. Rapes were common in conflict areas, and women and girls were murdered in many European and African countries. The international community had to mobilize in order to protect the rights of women.

Liberation said that the fundamental rights of indigenous people in India remained at risk. Most lived below the poverty line and India had made systematic efforts to further marginalize their participation in decision-making. Liberation called upon the international community to play a role in ensuring the full participation of indigenous people in all aspects of society, in accordance with the Vienna Declaration.

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities said that women living in Indian-occupied Kashmir were the victims of violence. They were kept hostages by the occupation forces and were subjected to rape and other degrading practices. It also stressed that juvenile girls were kept in prisons with adult criminals as there was no juvenile home for girls in occupied Kashmir.

International Commission of Jurists said that a key focus of the Vienna Declaration was the responsibility of States, individually and collectively, to provide access to justice and remedies for victims. The Council had paid insufficient attention to those issues. The Commission called on the Council to systematically consider that question in all areas of its work.

International Committee for the Indians of the Americas said that Alaska and Hawaii were examples of how the United States flagrantly manipulated and subverted the de-colonisation process in violation of the right to self-determination in order to capture the indigenous peoples’ rights to their land and resources, including the right to development. The denial of self-determination had allowed the United States to commit ongoing human rights violations, including the confiscation of lands and forced evictions and the systematic denial of their right to self-determination.

Indian Council of South America said that the right to self-determination of peoples under foreign domination and colonial occupation was an important part of the Vienna Declaration. The Council remained deficient in addressing its responsibility to give attention to human rights violations resulting from military intervention, aggression or occupation, especially violations of the right to self determination. The Council continued to politicise that right despite grave violations resulting from its denial

United Nations Watch said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was produced in the same year as George Orwell’s classic work on the dangers of totalitarianism, 1984, and said it was reminded of Orwell yesterday, when, contrary to the principle of universality, one country was once again singled out by the Council for an entire day of vitriol, in what could only be described as a ‘day of hate’.

Press Emblem Campaign believed that the international community should take adequate measures to effectively and universally guarantee the freedom and protection of all media workers, professional and non-professional, provided they respect some professional principles, such as those contained in the Charter of Munich of 1971.

Amnesty International was seriously concerned that through trials based on spurious charges and arbitrary restrictive measures such as travel bans the Saudi Arabian authorities were engaged in a campaign to ensure Saudi Arabian human rights defenders were cowed into silence. Amnesty International urged the Saudi authorities to allow human rights defenders to carry out their crucial work, respect the right to freedom of expression and put a stop to torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development drew attention to the draft sub-regional human rights declaration by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations but regretted that some human rights groups were barred from the June 2012 consultation of the Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The Forum expressed concern that the declaration was not far-reaching enough, as issues such as the right to self-determination, the rights of indigenous people and the prevention of enforced disappearances had not received adequate recognition.

Action Canada for Population and Development said that the United Nations human rights system had made progress in advancing sexual and reproductive rights. However those rights remained contested with devastating consequences for human lives. It urged States to engage in dialogue on issues such as the decriminalization of abortion and access to education and information on sexuality.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere A/HRC/20/33.

It also has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Githu Muigai - Addendum - Mission to Hungary A/HRC/20/33/Add.1; observations on communications transmitted to Governments and replies received A/HRC/20/33/Add.2; and Addendum - Mission to Hungary: Comments by the State on the report of the Special Rapporteur A/HRC/20/33/Add.3;

The Council also has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere - Implementation of General Assembly resolution 66/143 A/HRC/20/38.

Presentation of Statement by Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

MUTUMA RUTEERE, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, said the prevalence of racist attitudes and negative stereotyping was one of the main obstacles in overcoming racial discrimination and achieving racial equality. The rise in extremist political parties posed a major challenge, while recent racist incidents during the UEFA European Football Championship showed that racism in sport was still a serious problem. The legal framework for punishing racism remained weak at national and international levels. Measures to prevent racism should focus on promotion of equality in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, and take into account the convergence between racism and poverty. States should extend partnerships with civil society, which could play a key role in prevention. Meaningful and effective participation of discriminated and marginalized groups in political and public life was crucial to informing policy decisions on issues related to racism and consequently to the prevention strategy. Given the multiple forms of discrimination faced by women, particular attention should be given to a gender perspective in the design of policies to prevent racial discrimination.

The rise in extremist political parties and groups continued to pose major challenges, particularly in the context of the current economic and financial crises, and the influence of their ideologies on youth was a major concern. Impunity for crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia and intolerance continued to encourage the recurrence of such acts. It was importance that the leaders of political parties publicly denunciated any expression of intolerance, racism or xenophobia that came from their own ranks. The internet now played an important role in providing a voice to individual victims of racism and racial discrimination. However, it had also become a new arena for spreading racist ideas, dissemination of racist ideologies, incitement to racial hatred and recruitment of new members by extremist political parties, movements and groups.

The Special Rapporteur presented a report on Hungary made by her predecessor, and said that Hungary had taken important steps in the fight against racism, racial discrimination and intolerance, including through legislative, institutional and policy measures. Concerns remained about national and ethnic minorities including the Roma, anti-Semitism, hate speech, extremist political parties, movements and groups, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and statelessness. The Government was recommended to ensure adequate representation of ethnic and national minorities in Parliament and to implement a comprehensive integration strategy for early-stage integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. The Special Rapporteur said he would visit Bolivia in September 2012.

Statement by Concerned Country

Hungary, speaking as a concerned country, expressed support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and the professional, comprehensive and balanced approach shown in addressing complex and sensitive issues such as the situation of Roma, migrants, refuges, asylum seekers or hate speech, anti-Semitism and extremist political parties. The Hungarian Roma community was represented by three Members of Parliament and the forthcoming Act on the Rights of Minorities, which would come into force in 2012, would enlarge the scope of authority and responsibilities of minority self-governments by their involvement into social and communal work programmes. The Deputy Prime Minister had concluded a strategic cooperation agreement with national minority self-governments. In 2011 a social inclusion strategy was created as part of the European Union framework for national strategies for Roma integration.

Asylum seekers were not routinely detained in Hungary, the exception being when a foreigner was already in administrative detention and had submitted an application for international protection. Lawful detention was ensured by continuous judicial control and a maximum pre-trial detention period of seventy-two hours. The process of administrative detention, which was executed in specialized detention facilities run by the police, had recently been undergoing measures for modification. The police had to ameliorate conditions of administrative detention and take into account the needs of detainees, and to that end was engaged with the Office of the High Commissioner and the International Organization for Migration. Hungary thanked the Special Rapporteur and reiterated its commitment to fully implement and follow up on implementation.

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Senegal, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that there had been an increase in practices and acts of xenophobia and racial discrimination. Therefore the international community needed to urgently act in the struggle against discrimination. Much remained to be done: effective measures needed to be adopted and a coherent strategy needed to be implemented, ideally in conjunction with national mechanisms. Particular attention should be paid to young girls and women victims of racism and xenophobia because of their greater vulnerability. The African Group reiterated its full support for the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and remained actively committed to its fight again racial discrimination and xenophobia.

Russia condemned the spreading of ideas of racial superiority and said they could not be justified by reference to the right of freedom of speech. Russia expressed concern that modern technologies were being used for social criminal purposes and pointed out that States needed to use those technologies to spread the ideas of democracy and tolerance instead. It called upon the Special Rapporteur to carefully study cases of idealization and resurrection of Nazism and stressed that combating the resurrection of Nazism should be one of the priorities of his mandate. Russia offered further support in that respect.

Norway commended the Special Rapporteur on his comprehensive report and fully supported his efforts. The terrorist attacks in Norway last summer underlined the need to act in order to prevent ethnic discrimination. It was very important to confront extremist ideologies in public debate and bring out the counter arguments. To that end, it was important to use dialogue and open public debate, to foster an inclusive environment in the early years of the educational system, to confront the sources of racism, and to present counter arguments. The internet had become an arena for the spread of illegal intolerance both in Norway and globally and that issue needed to be tackled.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed deep concern about the rise of racist and xenophobic political ideologies and by the tendency of some political parties to promote those ideologies to gain political capital and incite violence against ethnic, religious and racial minorities. The speaker asked where the threshold between freedom of expression and incitement to hatred and violence lay, and what measures could be taken to ensure the prevention of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance on the internet, in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights?

European Union said it had adopted a comprehensive legal framework to address discrimination on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, as well as organized major awareness-raising campaigns, and Member States had established ‘Equality Bodies’, functioning as independent organizations. Would the Special Rapporteur also address the issue of multiple forms of discrimination? Was there any intention to further investigate the specific challenges posed for countries undergoing major political, civil and social transformation and transition?

Jordan, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said any international movement working towards the elimination of racism, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance should take into account the need to spread awareness that racist discourse and instigation to hatred would only lead to negative consequences, stimulating conflict and sowing seeds of hatred. It was also extremely important to encourage a culture of tolerance and acceptance based on the nature of human beings. The Arab Group condemned all forms of terrorism and reaffirmed that terrorism had no religion. Linking terrorism with any specific religion was itself an act of discrimination and injustice.

South Africa said that the principle of non-discrimination was the bedrock of the realisation of human dignity. Racial discrimination touched on the fabric of societies and affected social cohesion and economic and social inclusion and sought to perpetuate marginalisation and exclusion. While recognising the importance of prevention and enforcement mechanisms, South Africa indicated that political will remained at the core and asked the Special Rapporteur to elaborate on decisive preventive measures when addressing contemporary manifestations of racial discrimination.

Brazil agreed that affirmative action and special measures had corrective functions and preventive roles. In April the Brazilian Supreme Court declared that affirmative actions did not violate the principle of equality and that racial quotas were constitutional. Brazil noted with concern the persistence of discrimination, racism and xenophobia, particularly in developing countries, and reiterated the incompatibility between democracy and racism. States had a duty to prevent the effects of the economic crisis leading to racism and xenophobia.

Malaysia shared the views of the Special Rapporteur on possible preventive measures to combat racism, including the need to focus on the right to education and gender equality and the need for political parties to work towards fair representation of national ethnic groups. The media had a crucial role in providing balanced coverage and in educating the public as to the danger of racism and racial intolerance. Malaysia had introduced the “1 Malaysia” concept based on the Constitution and legislation in order to promote mutual learning among different religious and relations between ethnic groups.

Cuba said that the full application of the Action Plan of the Durban Conference regarding equality of rights was still pending. It noted that new, sophisticated forms of racism and xenophobia had emerged and that there was a proliferation of policies which were discriminatory to migrants. The economic crisis had led to a deterioration of the situation. It expressed concern over the anti-immigration policies which had been recently implemented in certain countries and which favoured the social exclusion of migrants. Cuba reiterated its support to the Special Rapporteur and the work he had undertaken.

Costa Rica noted that racism in sports was a serious issue that needed to be addressed. Phenomena of racial discrimination were not compatible with societies fighting for peace and equality and were linked to violence. The protection of minorities was an effective way of sustaining social peace and tolerance. Costa Rica had started drawing up a national plan to combat racism and discrimination and to promote the implementation of its international obligations relating to human rights. In addition to having met all of its voluntary commitments, it had also tackled a number of challenges in that respect.

Turkey said that the financial crisis had aggravated social problems such as xenophobia and intolerance which constituted permanent threats to peace and security. It stressed that combating all forms of racism was a moral and legal obligation and it welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s focus on the need to further develop the related legal framework. With over four million Turks living outside Turkish borders, Turkey said it was committed to fighting racial discrimination. Legal measures alone were not sufficient to counter racial discrimination in political discourse and the international community was called upon to seize every opportunity to promote tolerance.

Morocco said that it was necessary to consider the adoption of a global approach including complete and exhaustive preventative and corrective measures, and including all key civil society actors. Morocco supported the recommendation concerning the need to invest in prevention policies which would include the participation of those discriminated against as well as a gender perspective. Morocco had undertaken a series of measures in terms of national legislation and programmes and strategies to prevent racism.

Slovenia said that in its view, human rights education and training could play a significant and preventive role which was necessary for the promotion of general respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. Could examples be given of good practices of human rights education in different regions aimed at eliminating the phenomena analyzed, and on how to incorporate a gender perspective in the design of measures aimed at preventing racism and discrimination at all levels?

Belgium said that, as stated in the report, racism was a complex and multidimensional issue that necessitated a comprehensive approach, in which the importance and value of preventive measures could not be overemphasized. Another conclusion was that the preventive framework was weak. In that respect Belgium was eager to learn about any existing good practices. It was currently working on completing its work on a new instrument to measure diversity, the Barometer of Diversity.

Armenia said that in addition to enforcement, preventive measures were important in order to reduce violations such as genocide and ethnic cleansing. Armenia agreed with the Special Rapporteur about the relationship between racism and contemporary armed conflicts. The Armenian people had experienced the devastating force of racist hatred and, in past decades, had witnessed attempts by certain countries that had acquired independence to rewrite the history of their States. Armenia asked the Special Rapporteur about mechanisms to address racist statements made by the highest State officials.

Sri Lanka said it had played an active role during the negotiations of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference. The primary responsibility for preventing and combating racism, discrimination and xenophobia lay with the State. Education and training were important. Sri Lana had a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural social fabric, of communities living in peaceful coexistence. However, Sri Lanka said it was aware of the manner in which monolithic ideologies could be manipulated by extremist elements.

Indonesia concurred with the Special Rapporteur that tolerance, mutual understanding and respect for all needed to be further promoted, while appropriate measures should be taken by States to address multiple and interlinked forms of discrimination. Indonesia had implemented legislation providing the foundation for the respect of culture and tolerance in multicultural life, and its national human rights commission monitored efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination. Indonesia stressed the need to ensure human rights training to law enforcement and human rights education in countering extremism.

India highlighted the contribution of great Indian leaders to the fight against racism and stressed that racism was a deep social and psychological phenomenon that still affected all levels of human interaction. Studies needed to be carried out on concealed manifestations of racism and its psychological sources. India rejected any attempt that sought to equate discrimination based on work and descent with racial discrimination and cautioned against confusing caste-based discrimination with racial discrimination.

Egypt said that the rise of extremist political parties, movements and groups continued to pose a challenge to human rights and democratic processes. It expressed dismay at racial, religious, cultural prejudices, intolerance and discrimination which undermined the enjoyment of human rights, and condemned all manifestations of racism, intolerance and xenophobia. Egypt also expressed concern about such manifestations in various parts of the world and called on all States to counter the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority.

Guatemala commended the preventive approach that the Special Rapporteur had taken in his report and noted the importance of creating a climate of tolerance. It pointed out that in Guatemala all human beings, including indigenous people, were free and equal in terms of dignity and enjoyment of human rights. Several special programmes in Guatemala were devoted to the promotion of tolerance and respect of the Guatemalan nation and to the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

United States said that it could not agree with the idea that criminalizing speech or prohibiting expression were effective approaches to combating the roots of racial discrimination and bigotry. Also, it could not support the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action’s unfair singling out of one country. The United States had recently created an Equality Working Group to coordinate efforts by its federal agencies to effectively implement its human rights treaty body obligations, with respect to non-discrimination and equal opportunities. Could additional information be provided on challenges being faced globally in addition to political extremism?

Ecuador said it had issued inclusive public policies in line with the Plurinational Plan to Eliminate Racial Discrimination and Ethnic and Cultural Exclusion 2009 -2013. One achievement was the increase in the net level of higher education for indigenous persons and persons of African descent. Ecuador had also adopted Government resolutions that forced public institutions to cover a minimum percentage of staff recruitment of indigenous persons, persons of African descent and Montubios. It condemned the use of violence and incitation of hate which undermined development of human beings.

Argentina said that in 2005 it passed a new law on an anti-discriminatory policy which had tried to repair social gaps within the various segments of society that had been historically vulnerable and stigmatized, by fulfilling all of their rights. Efforts made by national institutes were aimed at all of those persons whose rights had been adversely affected and been discriminated against on various grounds. Education and media were fundamental in the fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination and so educational campaigns aimed at enhancing social and cultural pluralism had been carried out, including through academic, cultural and sporting events.

Australia reiterated its commitment to eliminating all forms of racial discrimination. States were responsible for establishing preventive measures. While Australia had legislation outlawing discrimination, those measures worked best in combination with preventive measures. Australia had established a partnership with civil society to outline a national anti-racism strategy. It welcomed recognition of the relationship between social inequality and racial discrimination and asked what concrete actions States could take to address that issue.

Algeria said that racism and xenophobia continued promoting new forms of exclusion and hatred. It expressed concern that racial and xenophobic remarks were not only reserved for extremist parties but contaminated mainstream discourse. Extremism continued on social media and the Internet where it propagated with impunity. Combating that phenomenon required a holistic approach and both punitive and preventive measures. The media should not transmit racist measures and should not be use to disseminated racist and xenophobic ideas.

Venezuela expressed concern about the aggravating tendency of extremist parties in the context of the economic crisis and indicated that political parties had the responsibility to promote tolerance and multiculturalism. Data on racist and xenophobic crimes was necessary in order to identify victims, perpetrators, and trends. In 2011 the national census included variables to identify people of African descent in order to better formulate policies. Venezuela was committed to combating racial discrimination in all forms and had enabled legislation making it a criminal offence.

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For use of information media; not an official record