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UN Panel Appeals to US to Reject Racially-Motivated Crimes

  • VOA News

FILE - White nationalist demonstrators use shields as they guard the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017.

A United Nations committee has issued an appeal to the United States to repudiate racially-motivated crimes and hate speech following a recent deadly white supremacist rally in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia, and warned a failure to do so could spark more violence.

A statement Wednesday by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cited "the failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events," in the U.S.

A counterprotester, left, confronts a professed supporter of President Donald Trump at a "Free Speech" rally by conservative activists on Boston Common, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston.
A counterprotester, left, confronts a professed supporter of President Donald Trump at a "Free Speech" rally by conservative activists on Boston Common, Aug. 19, 2017, in Boston.

The statement did not mention U.S. President Donald Trump, who was widely criticized for blaming both sides for violence that erupted at a rally organized by neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a man associated with the white nationalists plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim, Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 13, 2017.
A makeshift memorial of flowers and a photo of victim, Heather Heyer, sits in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 13, 2017.

The U.N. panel's statement was issued under "early warning and urgent action" procedures that are reserved for serious situations. The procedures have been applied 20 times since 2003 against countries that include Burundi, Iraq, Israel, and Guyana.

The committee statement said it was "disturbed" by the U.S. government's failure to disavow racist demonstrations in the U.S., and warned that continuing to do so could result in "fueling the proliferation of racist discourse and incidents."

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, Aug. 22, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona, Aug. 22, 2017.

Trump once again defended his response to the violence in Charlottesville at a rally Tuesday in Arizona, at which he vowed to shut down the U.S. government in order to get a wall constructed along the southern border it shares with Mexico.

The committee, comprised of 18 independent experts, said if the the alleged perpetrators of the Charlottesville violence are convicted, their punishment should be commensurate with the seriousness of the crime.

The panel also said U.S. officials should "address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations, and thoroughly investigate the phenomenon of racial discrimination."

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