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Racist hate speech in politics, caste discrimination in India and Nepal, transitional justice in Sri Lanka (HRC33, 2016, OS)

Date : 2016.09.14

IMADR delivered its oral statement on “Racist hate speech in politics, caste discrimination in India and Nepal, transitional justice in Sri Lanka” at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council. Whole text can be read below or downloaded here


IMADR Oral Statement: 33rd session of the Human Rights Council

Item 2: General Debate on the oral update by the High Commissioner

14 September 2016

Thank you Mr. President,

 We share the High Commissioner’s concern on the widespread racism and xenophobia in the political discourse. Racist hate speech by politicians is not limited in so-called “West”, but in every region of the world. We urge the High Commissioner’s office to monitor this global phenomenon, and encourage States to take appropriate actions in line with Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Increasing or persistent reluctance of States to cooperate with the UN human rights mechanisms prevents us from achieving the goals set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and human rights instruments. We regret that the Government of India has not allowed the OHCHR to access the disputed area with Pakistan. In addition, we express grave concerns on India’s non-cooperation with the OHCHR in addressing the issue of caste-based discrimination. We call upon the Government of India to accept the visit request from the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and to engage with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in which the last review took place almost 10 years ago.

We voice our concern that the Government of Nepal decided to close all OHCHR field offices while the country is still on the way to put national human rights protection mechanisms into effect. We reiterate the High Commissioner’s concern on the insufficient support provided for victims of the earthquake. Our member organisation, Feminist Dalit Organisation of Nepal (FEDO), has documented discrimination against Dalit and other vulnerable communities in relief aid. While acknowledging the Government’s efforts to address institutionalised discrimination, we call upon the Government of Nepal to strengthen its cooperation with the OHCHR in order to eradicate discrimination based on gender, caste, religion, ethnicity and other grounds.

 Lastly, we take note of the absence of Sri Lanka in the High Commissioner’s update despite the UN Secretary-General’s visit earlier this month. We are highly concerned by the decreasing scrutiny on Sri Lanka by the international community. The country is just starting its transitional justice process, and the close monitoring from the Human Rights Council and OHCHR is necessary more than ever. We call upon the Council not to loosen its grip on Sri Lanka until human rights of victims are fully restored.

Thank you Mr. President.

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