Skip to main content
Days of general discussion DGD

Thematic discussion: Racist hate speech, 2012


28 August 2012




During its eighty-first session, from 6 to 31 August 2012, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held a day of thematic discussion on racist hate speech in the context of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

According to article 4, States parties are required to penalize racist hate speech, including dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial hatred, acts of racially motivated violence and incitement to such acts.

Additionally, article 7 mandates measures ‘particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information’ to combat prejudices that may lead to racial discrimination, and to promote a climate of tolerance. The provisions are interpreted in light of the Convention as a whole, including Article 5 which protects, inter alia, ‘the right to freedom of opinion and expression’.

The Committee has noted throughout the years that racist hate speech is recurrent in the media, including the internet, in political discourse and other areas of public life, as well in social life including social activities such as sports. The Committee has repeatedly raised the issue of racist hate speech in its concluding observations and recommendations to States parties. It has identified the thematic debate as an additional initiative to contribute to the fight against racist hate speech.

The thematic discussion took place in a plenary meeting at the Palais des Nations, on 28 August 2012.

The format of the thematic discussion consisted of an interactive dialogue following four presentations by invited panellists on specific themes:

  • The concept of racist hate speech and its evolution over time
  • Combating racist hate speech: the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • Racist hate speech and freedom of opinion and expression
  • Racist hate speech in political life, and in the media including the internet
Inputs received
States parties
National Human Rights Institutions
Non-governmental organizations