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UN body criticizes US “failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events”

US racist hate speech

23 August 2017

GENEVA (23 August 2017) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has called on the Government of the United States of America, as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country. 

In a decision issued under its ‘early warning and urgent action’ procedure, the Committee -- which monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination* -- stated “there should be no place in the world for racist white supremacist ideas or any similar ideologies that reject the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality.” 

“We are alarmed by the  racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred”, said CERD Chairperson Anastasia Crickley.

In addition to the criminal investigation of the individual who ploughed his car into a crowd of peaceful protestors killing Ms. Heather Heyer, the UN experts asked the US authorities to undertake concrete measures “to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations.”

“We call on the US Government to investigate thoroughly the phenomenon of racial discrimination targeting, in particular, people of African descent, ethnic or ethno-religious minorities, and migrants,” added Ms. Crickley.

Acting under its early warning procedure, CERD also called on the US to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are not exercised with the aim of destroying or denying the rights and freedoms of others. It also asked US to provide the necessary guarantees so that such rights are not misused to promote racist hate speech and racist crimes.


For media requests please contact:

Nicoleta Panta, +41(0) 22 9179310 / [email protected]


CERD early warning and urgent action decision 21 August 2017 can be found here:

Members of CERD are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. More information on the Committee can be found here.

*The United States ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination:  in 1994.