United Nations human rights experts have called upon the US government and political leaders to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes.
The panel said it was “alarmed” by recent displays of racist violence and, without mentioning US President Donald Trump by name, condemned the “failure at the highest political level” to “unequivocally reject and condemn” such activity.
After the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked US authorities to investigate fully and “to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations.”
The committee – which monitors states’ implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination – said “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.”
Its decision to issue the statement was taken under its early warning procedure, it said. The United States ratified the convention in 1994.
“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,” committee chairwoman Anastasia Crickley said.
“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,” she said.
CERD also urged the United States to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are not used with the aim of destroying or denying the rights of others, and to guarantee that such rights are not abused in order to promote racist hate speech and crimes. The committee is made up of 18 independent experts from around the world who are elected by states who are party to the convention.
One person was killed and 19 were hurt in Charlottesville on August 12 when a speeding car slammed into a throng of counterprotesters to a “Unite the Right” rally. More than a dozen other injuries were reported in the violence surrounding the rally.
Since then, US President Donald Trump has come under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike over his response to the violence, in which by referring to “many sides” or “both sides” as being responsible, he equated neo-Nazis with their counterprotesters.
At a rally Tuesday in Arizona, he berated media coverage for the ongoing political crisis and omitted to mention his own controversial comments.
Meanwhile, a nationwide debate surrounding the issue of monuments that memorialize the Confederacy flared up after the violence in Charlottesville – where white nationalists marched to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue – and continues to simmer.
CNN’s Hilary McGann contributed to this report.