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Human Rights Council holds debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration

Human Rights Council                                                                                                                                        
MORNING   

17 March 2017

The Human Rights Council this morning commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.  

Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, in opening remarks, said that racism and xenophobia remained a daily reality for too many, inviting the delegations to share thoughts about how “new” technologies and social media fit in the picture and how to react to incitement where the source was not easy to track and could even be located in another country.  Other issues that needed to be discussed were the criteria for deciding what was misinformation and what was opinion, who had the responsibility to take those decisions, and what would be the role of the State. 

The moderator was Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  The panellists were Rokhaya Diallo, Journalist and Filmmaker; Mutuma Ruteere, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Rachel Neild, Senior Advisor on ethnic profiling and police reform, Open Society Justice Initiative; and Miltos Pavlou, Senior Programme Manager for Social Research, Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

Ms. Crickley said the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was an opportunity to address the connected and changing contexts and contemporary concerns of addressing racism in 2017.  The context of migration provided a global and complex current challenge for addressing racism, racial profiling and incitement to hatred for each and every State.  The compact that would emerge from the New York Declaration provided an opportunity to ensure that the way forward was grounded in and framed by existing human rights. 

Ms. Diallo stressed that large chunks of racism were often caused by States themselves, including though police violence; it was not possible to denounce State racism if there was financial dependence on the State.  States must compile ethnic-based statistics without which fighting racism would not be possible; being colour blind meant that the fight against racism was not successful.  Also, tools to combat police violence must be promoted.

Mr. Ruteere said the day’s debate was important to a world where migration and mass movements of populations had emerged as urgent political and moral questions.  In too many places, those fleeing persecution or crossing borders in search of a better life had found themselves cast as threats to security, and their faith and hopes had been met with hostility, prejudice and even violence.  He also discussed the legal, political and regulatory frameworks prohibiting racial and ethnic profiling.

Ms. Neild said that although profiling was an unlawful form of discrimination, it was too frequently justified as legitimate or even necessary in law enforcement.  Profiling described the disproportionate surveillance, fining practices and arrests, particularly for low level offences.  People of colour were policed differently to white people, and so were neighbourhoods of colour.  Changing stereotypes, attitudes and practices in police organizations and rebuilding community relations was a long-term challenge which required all to have difficult conversations about stereotypes based on race, ethnicity, religion and the manner in which they played out in interactions.

Mr. Pavlou said that while the Fundamental Rights Agency acknowledged the need to protect the public from security threats, it was now that Member States and European Union institutions needed to take steps to foster trust in societies.  Evidence collected and presented at the European Union colloquium showed that media and political discourse could contribute to an unfavourable climate, which could be dealt with through encouraging media literacy, and through encouraging the development of a code of conduct.  The international community ran the risk of living apart in divided societies instead of together.

During the ensuing discussion, delegations underscored that the fight against racism and racial discrimination was one of the most important areas for the United Nations, with many recalling the prohibition of racial profiling in international human rights law.  Some also noted with regret the pervasive character of racial profiling in national security and migration policies.  Some said poverty was one of the root causes of discrimination.  Focus was also given to the phenomenon of migration; delegations underscored the need for the international community to collectively combat all policies on discrimination which had a negative bearing on families and individual lives.  Some delegations queried the panellists on what connection, if any, there was between social inequality, economic exclusion and poverty on one hand, and rising discrimination, incitement to hatred and racial profiling on the other.  

Speaking were El Salvador on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Ecuador, Russia, Brazil, India, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Council of Europe, Greece, Bolivia, Pakistan, Honduras, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Venezuela, South Africa, Portugal, Nigeria, Libya, Iraq, Fiji, Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, Benin and Tunisia on behalf of the African Group.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor: Advocates for Human Rights International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Article 19 – International Centre against Censorship, Palestinian Return Centre Ltd, Africa Culture Internationale and  International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (joint statement).

The Council has a full day of meetings scheduled today.  At noon, it will consider the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Haiti and South Sudan.  

Introductory Remarks

JOAQUÍN ALEXANDER MAZA MARTELLI, President of the Human Rights Council, said that in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and pursuant to General Assembly resolution 71/181, the Council would hold a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.

Opening Statement

PEGGY HICKS, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination spoke the hard truth: the world knew racism was wrong, it had committed to ending it, but had not come close to succeeding.  Despite the efforts by many, racism and xenophobia remained a daily reality for too many.  Racism built on the fear of what appeared different, the fear of the “other”, and some politicians and media manipulated this fear and incited people to hatred against the “other”.  The dominant public discourse on migration relied on myth and prejudice, and fed on the false narrative about threats posed by migration and migrants, which fostered a climate of anti-migrant sentiment and racism that engulfed whole communities. 

The Rabat Plan of Action was a possible bulwark against this wave as it provided a much needed framework for prohibiting incitement to hatred while maintaining respect for freedom of speech.  Ms. Hicks invited the delegations to share thoughts about how “new” technologies and social media fit in the picture and how to react to incitement where the source was not easy to track and could even be located in another country.  Other issues that needed to be discussed were the criteria for deciding what was misinformation and what was opinion, who had the responsibility to take those decisions, and what would be the role of the State.  Racial profiling reduced a person to their physical appearance, an experience described as deeply humiliating by those subjected to it.  It was so disturbing because it was not discrimination by an individual, but discrimination by the State.  Profiling based on race, ethnicity, nationality, migration status or religion in law enforcement constituted a violation of human rights, because of its fundamentally discriminatory nature, and States could not opt out of the international law obligation that prohibited racial discrimination.  Racial profiling did not only violate human rights, it was largely unsuccessful in crime prevention and therefore an ineffective policing tool; it alienated communities singled out for the treatment, and undermined confidence in law enforcement, which in turn could exacerbate racial and religious tensions between police and targeted community.

Statements by the Moderator and Panellists

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, said in her introductory remarks that the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was an opportunity to focus not only on slavery, which had been one of the first forms of racism with legacies which remained insidious and institutionalized globally; it was also an opportunity to address the connected and changing contexts and contemporary concerns of addressing racism in 2017.  Racial discrimination remained an insidious global phenomenon visible not least in racial profiling and incitement to hatred and frequently targeted at migrants and refugees who remained particular targets of racial, ethnic and nationality based discrimination.  Racial profiling was a particular focus of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination General Recommendation 31 which urged States to adopt and implement legislation which prohibited officials from engaging in racial profiling, take special measures to eliminate it and avoid policies and programmes which could give rise to it.  The context of migration provided a global and complex current challenge for addressing racism, racial profiling and incitement to hatred for each and every State.  The compact that would emerge from the New York Declaration provided an opportunity to ensure that the way forward was grounded in and framed by existing human rights.  Sidestepping racial profiling would not lead to its elimination, nor would the refusal to acknowledge its complexity and intersectionality with other forms of oppression, including those suffered by women. 

Ms. Crickley then asked the first panellist, Ms. Diallo, a journalist and filmmaker, to address the root causes and consequences of racism, racial discrimination and incitement to hatred, based on her own work.

ROKHAYA DIALLO, Journalist and Filmmaker, stressed that the first step was to recognize racism and to acknowledge that it was a result of a socio-historical system.  Racism targeted particular groups, who then built expertise which had no equivalent and could not be learned in universities.  Thus governments should not only consult them but involve them and ensure they were at the forefront of the fight against racism.  For example, victims and families of victims of police violence must be at the frontline of the fight against the phenomenon.  A large chunk of racism was often caused by States themselves, including though police violence; it was not possible to denounce State racism if there was financial dependence on the State.  States must compile ethnic-based statistics without which fighting racism would not be possible; being colour blind meant that the fight against racism was not successful.  Also, tools to combat police violence must be promoted.

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, then asked Mr. Ruteere the following question.  Based on your work, what manifestations of racial profiling have you analysed on the current migrant, refugee and asylum seeker flows.  How did these practices constitute racism and racial discrimination?

MUTUMA RUTEERE, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, said it was an honour to address the Human Rights Council special panel and debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, on the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The theme of the debate was particularly relevant as the world reflected on the progress made in eliminating racial discrimination and as it rededicated its efforts to confront the remaining challenges.  The debate was important to a world were migration and mass movements of populations had emerged as urgent political and moral questions. These kinds of commemorations presented an opportunity to reflect on the reasons and roots of the idea of human rights.  In the last couple of years, the world had seen the power, influence and effectiveness of the human rights idea.  In too many places, those fleeing persecution or crossing borders in search of a better life had found themselves cast as threats to security, and their faith and hopes had been met with hostility, prejudice and even violence.  New challenges were defined by experiences of racial and ethnic minorities in their interactions with law enforcement agencies. 

Mr. Ruteere said he had addressed these interactions in his thematic report to the Human Rights Council in June 2015, with a specific focus on racial and ethnic profiling in law enforcement.  He had examined the contexts leading to the use of profiling and provided an overview of the different manifestations of this phenomenon by law enforcement agencies.  He had also discussed the legal, political and regulatory frameworks prohibiting racial and ethnic profiling.  Finally he had presented positive examples of practices initiated towards the elimination of its use.  He had concluded with recommendations on how to combat profiling.

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, asked Ms. Neild how she understood the drivers of ethnic, national, religious and national profiling, and what practices had been designed to promote fair profiling.

Rachel Neild, Senior Advisor on ethnic profiling and police reform, Open Society Justice Initiative, said racial or ethnic profiling was widespread.  Although profiling was an unlawful form of discrimination, it was too frequently justified as legitimate or even necessary in law enforcement.  There were, indeed, racist police officers, but most were not consciously and deliberately racist.  Racial profiling was a pattern of practice, not a set of individual acts. Profiling described the disproportionate surveillance, fining practices and arrests, particularly for low level offences.  It was particularly common to see enforcement of minor drug offences as the justification for stop and search practices.  Data showed that black and other minority groups were targeted far more than white people, despite clear evidence that drug use among white groups was just as high.  People of colour were policed differently to white people, and so were neighbourhoods of colour.  Research showed that even in high crime areas a very small number of individuals were responsible for most of the crimes, yet ID checks and searches were often widespread, not targeted at the high risk individuals.  The costs extended beyond the individual’s experience.  When people experienced policing as unfair, they lost confidence in police and were less likely to call for help.  The use of mass ID checks or raids for counter-terrorism or migration enforcement similarly targeted entire groups rather than individual behaviours. 

Ms. Neild pointed out that there were things to be done to target these common police practices.  Policing could be both fairer and more effective.  First, legal standards had to clearly prohibit discrimination in law enforcement.  Second police managers and line supervisors needed to monitor and support the manner in which front-line officers used their powers, and take action when they failed to do so.  Flagging issues and offering remedial support was important.  It was also important to include local residents in reviewing officers’ use of stop and search.  Finally, data that supported the basis for good management practices was equally important.  Changing stereotypes, attitudes and practices in police organizations and rebuilding community relations was a long-term challenge.  It required all to have difficult conversations about stereotypes based on race, ethnicity, religion and the manner in which they played out in interactions.  This challenge was especially acute in policing, but it was also a far wider need, and of increasing urgency in the face of growing politics of blame and exclusion.

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, asked how a climate of incitement to hatred, and a climate of discrimination and xenophobic discourse associated with counter-terrorism measures, violated the rights of victims.

MILTOS PAVLOU, Senior Programme Manager for Social Research, Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, said while the Fundamental Rights Agency acknowledged the need to protect the public from security threats, it was now that Member States and European Union institutions needed to take steps to foster trust in societies.  Evidence collected and presented at the European Union colloquium showed that media and political discourse could contribute to an unfavourable climate.  There could be fake news contributing to hatred.  The problem could be dealt with through encouraging media literacy, and through encouraging the development of a code of conduct.  Ethnic profiling was illegal and had negative effects on community relations, and public trust of law enforcement.  Avoiding it could promote societal participation of migrants and their descendants.  Based on data, the Fundamental Rights Agency would update its guide on ethnic profiling which was a useful tool for professionals.  The international community ran the risk of living apart in divided societies instead of together.  Fighting hate meant tearing down barriers that separated and divided. 

Discussion

El Salvador, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said it supported tackling discrimination towards migrants through comprehensive and multi-sectoral policies, which rejected all forms of discrimination against migrants.  European Union said discrimination on any grounds was unlawful and contrary to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.  States had an obligation not to engage in discrimination practices.  Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said there was a need to realize that poverty was one of the root causes of discrimination and therefore supporting the 2030 Agenda by providing financial and other assistance was important in the fight against the rise of this scourge. 

Mexico, said migration was natural, and there was a need to collectively combat all policies on discrimination which had a negative bearing on families and individual lives.  Sierra Leone said the rhetoric of intolerance had grown alarmingly, and nationalistic ideology had poisoned the world; a victim-based approach was needed to tackle hate crimes.  Thailand echoed the collective voice of the global community which condemned acts of racism and intolerance, and said that given the mounting concern over racism and xenophobia, it was pleased to see the Council seized on this matter.

Ecuador regretted that there was still ethnic cleansing in the world and was very concerned about racial profiling against certain ethnicities and religions.  Ecuador had signed up to the International Decade for People of African Descent.  Russia said that the fight against racism and racial discrimination was one of the most important areas for the United Nations and stressed the need to understand its root causes.  Contemporary stereotyping had led to frightful crimes in the past, such as the Holocaust or apartheid, and today there were attempts to modify history.  Brazil stressed the important role of sports in fighting prejudice and racism and asked about the obligations of States in relation to the protection of the rights of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers within their borders.

India recalled the prohibition of racial profiling in international human rights law and noted with regret its pervasive character in national security and migration policies.  Racial profiling and incitement to hatred undermined human dignity and must be addressed effectively.  United Arab Emirates said that instances of racial profiling took place away from the public eye and that victims were often reluctant to report, which led to impunity among the police officers.  Iran was concerned about the growing phenomenon of racial profiling and excessive use of force by the police which undermined public safety and trust among communities.

Advocates for Human Rights expressed concern about the rise of attacks on migrants, and even greater concern about some who had actively supported racist and xenophobic positions and had assumed powerful leadership roles in the executive branch, lending an air of legitimacy to those views.  International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism said there was a shortage of measures against racist hate speech in the political discourse and asked the panellists how the international community could encourage governments to recognize the positive role of civil society in the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination. 

Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme said there was no refugee or migration crisis, but rather a failure of the management of migration policy and the rejection of the regime of the Refugee Convention by several States.  The panellists were asked for their opinions on the re-examination of the Convention on refugees and migrants to respond to the current challenges facing the world.  Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales said migratory policies played a role as one of the structural causes of discrimination against migrants.  The panellists were asked about the discriminatory consequences of policies.

Remarks by the Panel Moderator and the Panellists

Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and panel moderator, said the discussion and concerns expressed by the panel reflected the global nature of discrimination, as well as the capacity to ignore it, which had not helped curb the rise of this scourge.  She acknowledged the number of steps that could be taken towards the elimination of racial discrimination, including political will and commitments that countries had entered into.  Were States able to live up to the challenges, and tackle migration policies which classified migrants as suspicious rather than seeing them as contributions?  She asked Ms. Diallo to address her concern with regard to the protection of women and children migrants.

ROKHAYA DIALLO, Journalist and Filmmaker, said legal instruments could be oppressive for minorities, particularly women.  Several European countries had been stricken by policies which contained disproportionate profiling, in particular anti-terrorism measures.  Migrants were placed in situations of discrimination due to laws, and thus exposed to risks, checks and police violence.  This question had come up in France, where several migrant camps had sprung up spontaneously.  This was intolerable in countries where there was so much empty housing.  The solution lay in the power of the authorities – racism was spread by the leaders.  The world was witnessing daily speeches by leaders in which these referred to the Islamic veil as being incompatible with the European Union, for example.  This hate speech was amplified by the media, which acted as a compliant.  The response needed was one that prevented people in power from speaking this way.  In this respect, measures were needed to reinforce national and international cooperation and to strengthen the struggle against racial profiling and discrimination, in particular in relation to migrants.

MUTUMA RUTEERE, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, said the world was at a crossroads in terms of the human rights policies it had created.  It was at a state of emergency – and part of this emergency entailed recognition of the fact that the world was witnessing the mainstreaming of prejudice.  Forms of prejudice that had been previously only hiding in documents were now out in the open.  The State of the world had to face this problem. Mr. Ruteere called upon States to strengthen the national, regional and international systems of oversight and human rights promotion, which functioned very poorly.  Even the support given to the human rights system within the United Nations system was minimal: the budget was lower than the sports budget of many universities, for example.  It was thus important to strengthen the system of values and leadership responsibility, and to denounce those who promoted discriminatory ideas within their countries.  Finally, it was extremely important to recognize the very important work done by non-governmental organizations, who were sometimes the first to rescue people from boats. 

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, asked the next panellist to comment on States’ obligations to address incitement and racial profiling of undocumented migrants.

RACHEL NEILD, Senior Advisor on ethnic profiling and police reform, Open Society Justice Initiative, stressed that migration control posed some specific challenges, and underlined that many police officers disliked enforcing migration laws which broke families apart.  States should not use health, education or other social services to identify and turn over undocumented migrants.  Legal rights of migrants caught up in deportation or other proceedings must be strengthened, and law enforcement forces in charge of controlling migration should be separate from those policing communities.  Ms. Neild also stressed the challenge of mass personal data collection in the context of border control which could not be properly managed at the moment and could give rise to the abuse of rights and freedoms.

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, noted that a number of delegations were concerned about the rise of populist policies and hate speech, particularly in Western societies.  What could be done to address this?

MILTOS PAVLOU, Senior Programme Manager for Social Research, Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, stressed that it was not only about political leadership and institutions, but also about the general public which needed to have greater capacity – through education – to judge and make opinions based on facts.  The empowered and educated public could use the legal framework to support and defend against criminalization and racial stereotyping.  Therefore, digital literacy must be supported and encouraged.  The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights was developing a new handbook on racial profiling for law enforcement and border guards on using profiling tools lawfully and legitimately.

Discussion

Council of Europe said it did not help to pretend “this evil” did not exist, adding that the general policy recommendation on hate speech encouraged speedy reactions by public figures to hate speech and withdrawing financial and other support from political parties that actively used hate speech, criminalising its most extreme manifestations.  Greece said the economic crisis had made the situation of human rights more difficult, but Greece was striving to protect the rights of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, and was determined to respond adequately to the refugee crisis despite austerity measures.  Bolivia encouraged the Council to look at the problems of human rights at international borders, adding that it was important to support States with regard to the governance of borders.

Pakistan said it was regrettable that refugees and migrants were particular targets of incitement to hatred, and sought the views of the panellists on the need for a binding instrument against hate speech.  Honduras said racial profiling and incitement to hatred ran counter to international instruments, but both phenomena were current realities.  Honduras would join the effort to combat those practices and asked the panellists how States could ensure their obligations became operational.  Bangladesh was troubled at the continued manifestation of racial and hate crimes, intolerance, xenophobia, islamophobia and religious profiling.  The panellists were asked what connection, if any, there was between social inequality, economic exclusion and poverty on one hand, and rising discrimination, incitement to hatred and racial profiling on the other. 

Malaysia was concerned that the racism, hate and Islamophobia present in political discourse was being translated into States’ policies, while the acceptance of this as something logical and normal was of concern.  What were the possible long-term cooperation avenues to promote awareness raising, education and training?  Venezuela said that in the Western world, xenophobic and racist discourse in public and private spheres was on the rise, creating a sense of rejection among minority groups.  It also was present in the national security and migration policies.  South Africa said that manifestations of racism such as racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration, held humanity back and caused great suffering and harm to individuals, communities and nations.  States must not avoid responsibility to protect victims of racism and racial discrimination, including migrants.

Portugal said that racial profiling was incompatible with the principles of equality and non-discrimination.  It was illegal and ineffective and yet it remained standard practice in law enforcement, including in the context of counter-terrorism, and immigration and border control, without adequate redress mechanisms for victims.  Nigeria was concerned by recent remarks by some global leaders as they had worsened the already tense race relations within some countries and fanned embers of hatred, racial profiling and xenophobia.  The evidence of abuse was evident in the treatment of people of African descent, Africans and Asians by law enforcement.  Libya firmly believed that the rights of migrants must be promoted and protected and asked the panellists about the role of the media and the movie industry in fostering hate speech. 

Article 19 – International Centre against Censorship recognized that hate speech caused considerable harm that must be addressed, and stressed that securization of human rights further contributed to the marginalization of minorities.  Palestinian Return Centre Ltd drew attention to the ongoing discrimination of Palestinians by Israel due to their distinct culture, identity and ethnicity.  The most important Israeli law on citizenship allowed any Jewish person to return and become a citizen, whereas Palestinians were stripped of their nationality and the right of return. 

Iraq reminded that hate speech and racial profiling had spread in many societies.  Thousands of terrorists had spread their devious thinking under the guise of ISIS, whose policies had caused heinous results.  There should be a link between racism and terrorism.  Fiji recalled that racism had been instilled to such an extent in Fiji that it had destroyed social trust.  Unfortunately, nowadays some members of the Fijian society did not want to uphold the constitutional equality of all ethnicities in the country.  Kyrgyzstan noted that racism and intolerance were global issues that needed to be addressed urgently given the current context of migration movements and increased hate speech.  Kyrgyzstan celebrated cultural and ethnic diversity. 

Namibia underlined that human rights, including the right to development, were endangered by the rise in racial discrimination.  It was particularly concerned about the discrimination of people of African descent by law enforcement bodies in some European countries.  Benin warned that discrimination, populism and anti-migration speech had been developing at an alarming rate.  Combatting profiling and incitement to hatred had to be conducted on several fronts and in cooperation with all Member States.  How was it possible to effectively combat incitement to hatred online?  Tunisia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, deplored discrimination and xenophobia against migrants and asylum seekers.  Very often the recipient countries were not equipped to host such large numbers of migrants.  Migration issues should be integrated fully in the United Nations system.     

Africa Culture Internationale drew the attention of the panel to Baluchistan, where discrimination was carried out with impunity and where State bodies were the culprits.  International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, in a joint statement, said migration and integration were twofold and interrelated, and the Council was urged to encourage training for border patrol and immigration. 
 
Concluding Remarks
 
ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, panel moderator and Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, elaborated on the various areas of the discussion that she would like the panellists to focus on while answering questions from delegates.

ROKHAYA DIALLO, Journalist and Filmmaker said the right to blasphemy had no legal status.  There was a right to criticise, but there was a difference.  On the question of the web and social networks, she said she had filmed a documentary on how extremist groups controlled networks.  Things to be withdrawn from the Internet should be withdrawn through a judge and not through the actions of social media itself.  In response to allegations that people migrating illegally should not expect a hero’s welcome, she noted that she with her French passport could go anywhere while that was not the case for people like her parents from Senegal.

MUTUMA RUTEERE, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, speaking of the linkage between poverty, inequality and racism, noted that the Sustainable Development Goals represented a very important opportunity to gather consolidated and aggregated data on who was left out of material progress, and on what linkages existed between forms of economic marginalization and discrimination.  Extremists used a certain context against minorities to mobilize masses.  The victims of such extremists were precisely those who benefited least from economic development.  Aggregated data would help understand such relations and linkages.  The excuses that some countries used not to collect aggregated data were not acceptable.  Such data could be used to inform policies.  With respect to terrorism and counter-terrorism, the value of data gathering became apparent.  Unfortunately, in many cases the data gathered and used by police contributed to bigotry against certain groups.

RACHEL NEILD, Senior Advisor on ethnic profiling and police reform, Open Society Justice Initiative, recalled the uptake in hate crimes in the United States right after the Presidential elections.  The issue of criminalizing hate speech was very difficult.  Ms. Neild said she was nervous about criminalizing speech in view of rising intolerance.  European law made a distinction between direct and indirect discrimination, whereas the law in the United States spoke of disparate impact.  But, a criminal act was individual and intentional, and it required considerable burden of proof.  Thus, it was crucial to have strong civil and administrative remedies with respect to racial profiling.  In practice, criminalizing speech was not the best response.  The slogan of the disabilities movement “nothing for us without us” could well be applied to communities which were victims of racism and xenophobia.  Concerned communities should be involved in deliberations of relevant policies and measures.

MILTOS PAVLOU, Senior Programme Manager for Social Research, Equality and Citizens’ Rights Department, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, suggested that before implementing new tools, the old ones needed to be implemented.  In the European Union, the courts had identified these issues and the legal trends were there. There were proceedings against violent and extremist groups in Greece, for example. Speaking of what could be done, he added that migrants and minorities had to be involved in the public sector, not just as rights holders but in designing and monitoring polices.  There was a need to include these as well as form partnerships with local societies and communities that were affected and interested.  There were good and promising practices to be used within the European Union.  Regarding racial profiling, it was acceptable that police may refer to an individual’s race or ethnic background as part of a concrete offence.  Of course, mass stereotyping was illegal and damaged community relations.  However, improving the mechanisms for monitoring and data collection, including disaggregated by racial ethnicity, was important.  These were needed to identify racial ethnicity, and address it through training and through data privacy safeguards.  In conclusion, he stated that this was not about the rights of migrants and groups, but about the development of societies in general.  That was why the Sustainable Development Goals, including goals 10 and 16, for example, were so important.  It was important because this was how the future of societies was shaped for children.

ANASTASIA CRICKLEY, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and panel moderator, said racial discrimination and profiling were insidious in this world.  The persistent figures for prison, education, accommodation, and employment differentials spoke to differentials for indigenous peoples, minorities, Roma, travelers, migrants and asylum seekers.  The root causes of racism and racial discrimination were very deep.  They required the effects of racism.  Racist acts had a particular outcome but also a purpose, and required attention to the historical realities and the legacies, not least of which were the continuous discrimination against people with African descent.  Today’s challenges were not just in one or several countries, but in all countries.  Identifying those challenges was the biggest challenge of all.  There were a number of instruments in existence, starting with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action which had to be put in action.  There was a need for data.  One could not mange something unless they knew the extent of it.  With regard to populous politics, irrespective of the welcome people were greeted with, they were entitled to be treated with respect, human rights and dignity.  Populous politics were also propagated by the media, which created conditions for racism and discrimination.  Responding to these was simply not enough.  Ms. Crickley called upon the leaders of all countries to go beyond responding, and to create a counter-narrative.  She called upon them to create the conditions to counter discrimination.  The talks today had been evidence of the ongoing commitment by the Human Rights Council and the United Nations to eliminate discrimination.

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