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UN wants states to do more against racism, Islamophobia

'Counter-terrorism measures exacerbating racism, xenophobia'

01 November 2017,Wednesday, 12:40



States must do more to combat racism, Islamophobia and discrimination which are worsening amid the ongoing terrorism threats and are in some cases being fuelled by anti-terror policies, according to a United Nations Special Rapporteur.

Mutuma Ruteere told the General Assembly in New York on Tuesday that hate speech and security measures were fuelling racism, xenophobia and discriminations based on people’s ethnic origin, migration status or religion, in the current context of anti-terrorism measures and legislation.

“The surge in terrorist attacks in recent times has prompted States in various regions of the world to adopt a variety of counter-terrorism measures,” said Ruteere, a Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism in a new report.

“However, in many countries, these measures have provoked concerns over human rights protection. I’ve also witnessed the proliferation of anti-Muslim rhetoric and the rise of right-wing extremist parties. Meanwhile counter-terrorism policies have disproportionately affected people from certain countries, considerably restricting their freedom of movement. Several countries have amended legislation to make it easier to strip citizens of their nationalities if they are suspected of terrorist-related activities,” he noted.

Ruteere said addressing economic inequalities was key to meeting the challenge of countering terrorism without fuelling racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

“I’ve noticed that populist parties have gained support by capitalising on constituents’ concerns over the financial burdens of migration and their belief that migrants engage in crime, take jobs away from nationals, pose a threat to national identity or have religious practices that are incompatible with modern societies,” the expert explained.

The Special Rapporteur highlighted good practices for States and other parties to follow, including legal, policy and institutional measures that have been adapted to combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination in the context of countering terrorism.

He also presented a report on combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The report is based on contributions from 10 States as well as from non-governmental and other organisations.

 

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