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“Very little progress in tackling racism and xenophobia around the world” International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - Monday 21 March 2016

GENEVA (17 March 2016) –The world is witnessing an alarming increase in hate and xenophobic speech, say three United Nations experts on racism and discrimination, in advance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Monday.

“Much more needs to be done by Governments around the world to protect vulnerable groups and punish the perpetrators. Impunity has become the norm for what are heinous crimes and this is a very alarming situation,” said the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere; the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, Mireille Fanon Mendes-France; and the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, José Francisco Cali Tzay.

“Fifteen years after the Durban Conference very little progress has been made in tackling racism, afrophobia, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” the human rights experts said.

“Instead we see an alarming increase of hate and xenophobic speech echoing across the globe. Political leaders, public figures and even mass media stigmatise and scapegoat migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and foreigners in general, as well as minorities,” they cautioned.

The experts expressed concern over recent calls by politicians and officials for the mass arrest and deportation of foreigners. “This sort of behaviour encourages acts of violence against vulnerable people,” they complained.

The group also highlighted the under-reporting of racist and xenophobic acts, stressing the need for strong law enforcement and criminal justice responses. They also recommended human rights education to raise awareness and promote tolerance.

“States must live up to their responsibilities on xenophobia, racial hatred and intolerance to prevent pandemic levels in a global context where there are now large movements of people which exacerbates tensions,” they said.

The UN experts called on Governments to establish appropriate anti-racism action plans as well as equality bodies and to provide adequate redress to the victims. They also highlighted the need for collecting reliable data in order to monitor changes.

Mr. Mutuma Ruteere (Kenya) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in November 2011. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/SRRacism/Pages/IndexSRRacism.aspx
For further information and media requests, please contact: Yaye Ba (+41 22 917 92 10 / yba@ohchr.org) or Thierry del Prado (+41 22 917 92 32 / tdelprado@ohchr.org)

The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established by the then Commission on Human Rights in 2002 following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Racism/WGAfricanDescent/Pages/WGEPADIndex.aspx 
For further information and media requests, please contact Christina Saunders (+41 22 928 9197 / csaunders@ohchr.org) or write to africandescent@ohchr.org

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CERD/Pages/CERDIndex.aspx 
For further information and media requests, please contact Gabriella Habtom (+41 22 917 9193 / ghabtom@ohchr.org) or write to cerd@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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