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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CONCLUDES GENERAL DEBATE ON RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND RELATED INTOLERANCE

Meeting Summaries

The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Speakers said the racist events that had taken place, including those targeting peaceful protesters, were concerning.  The world over, people, and the youth in particular, were making their voices heard, calling for an end to racial discrimination, notably against people of African descent.  International solidarity and cooperation were needed to combat racism and xenophobia, and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action follow-up mechanisms were fundamental in that regard.  The rise of racial discrimination, Islamophobia, xenophobia, ethnic hatred and intolerance ran in congruence with the rise of “infodemics,” hate speech and malignant disinformation, speakers said. 

The general debate on racism and racial discrimination started this morning and a summary can be found here.

Speaking in the general debate this afternoon were the State of Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Egypt on behalf of a group of countries, Brazil on behalf of a group of countries, Pakistan, Libya, Brazil, India (video message), Bahrain, Namibia, Venezuela, Nigeria, Indonesia, Nepal, Sudan, Mauritania, Qatar, Angola, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Austria, Afghanistan, France, Israel, Botswana, Ecuador, South Africa, Iraq, Cuba, Sierra Leone, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Myanmar, Azerbaijan, Greece, Russian Federation, Iran, Syria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Turkey, Algeria, China, Lebanon, Belarus, United Kingdom and Lesotho.

Also speaking were the following non-governmental organization representatives : Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, Global Action on Aging, African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters, African Green Foundation International, World Jewish Congress, Sikh Human Rights Group, ADALAH - Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health, International Institute for Rights and Development Geneva, Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos, Global Welfare Association, Iraqi Development Organization, Mother of Hope Cameroon Common Initiative Group, Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre, World Barua Organization, Association pour l'Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi, Center for Organisation Research and Education, Centre for Gender Justice and Women Empowerment, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, Ingenieurs du Monde, United Nations Watch, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Alsalam Foundation, Action of Human Movement, Association pour les Victimes Du Monde, European Centre for Law and Justice, The European Centre for Law and Justice, Conseil de jeunesse pluriculturelle, ABC Tamil Oli, Tamil Uzhagam, Tourner La Page, Action pour la protection des droits de l'homme en Mauritanie, Liberation, Association for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, Association pour le Développement Humain en Mauritanie, Association pour l'Éducation et la Santé de la Femme et de l'Enfant, Guinee Humanitaire, International Career Support Association, Association Mauritanienne pour la promotion du droit, International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, World Evangelical Alliance, Association Solidarité Internationale pour l'Afrique, and Minority Rights Group.

Speaking in right of reply were India, China, Brazil, Myanmar, Mauritania, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The meetings of the resumed forty-third regular session of the Human Rights Council can be followed on the webcast of UN Web TV.

The Council will meet again on Wednesday, 17 June at 10 a.m. to hold an enhanced interactive dialogue on the Democratic Republic of the Congo under its agenda item on technical assistance and capacity building.

General Debate on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

Speakers said the world was still witnessing a disturbing wave of hate speech that had an adverse effect on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  The racist events that had taken place, including those targeting peaceful protesters, were concerning.  The world over, people, and the youth in particular, were making their voices heard, calling for an end to racial discrimination, notably against people of African descent.  International solidarity and cooperation were needed to combat racism and xenophobia, and the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action follow-up mechanisms were fundamental in that regard.  Speakers said the murder of George Floyd had shed light on the structural, racial and economic disparities that marred the lives of African Americans in the United States.  Other speakers stressed that the systematic racism that had led to the death of George Floyd was by no means confined to a single country.  They called for increased multilateral action to notably address the challenges faced by women of African descent, and, accordingly, urged the renewal of the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  Recent events had shown the relevance and importance of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

The rise of racial discrimination, Islamophobia, xenophobia, ethnic hatred and intolerance ran in congruence with the rise of “infodemics,” hate speech and malignant disinformation, speakers said.  They noted the important role played by multilateral institutions to prevent the trivialization of hate speech.  The resurgence of anti-Semitic stereotypes in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak was concerning, and a joint effort was necessary to eradicate it; it should be at the forefront of any human rights struggle.  Expressing their adherence to the slogan “Black Lives Matter”, some speakers demanded justice for the black population.  Others expressed concern about the rise of hate speech and manipulation carried out by media outlets to target certain groups.  Speakers suggested that some countries should recuse themselves from this debate, given their poor record on the matter under discussion.  Several delegations denounced discrimination based on religion and warned against the rise of populism.  Noting the large number of “Black Lives Matters” protests, some said this showed the wish of peoples that States meet their obligations related to the fight against racial discrimination.  Many speakers highlighted numerous incidents of racism and racial discrimination in the Indian Subcontinent, Europe, South-East Asia, Africa, North America and the Middle East.  States were urged to adopt efficient mechanisms to fight racism, especially against persons of African descent. 

 

HCR20.041E