Monday, November 29, 2021

News: ‘New deal’ needed to end hate, exclusion, discrimination against minorities, says UN expert

November 22, 2021 – Last week Mr. Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, urged the United States of America to overhaul legislation to prevent increasing exclusion, discrimination and hate speech and crimes against minorities, saying the legal landscape for the protection of human rights is far from comprehensive or even at times coherent. 

“What you have now is a patchy tapestry of laws first drafted more than 60 years ago, showing signs of fatigue,” Fernand de Varennes, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, told reporters at the end of a 14-day visit to the United States.

“The United States is a nation of paradoxes when it comes to human rights and minorities, espousing itself as the land which welcomes the world’s tired, poor, and huddled masses yet where support for slavery led to one of the world’s most brutal civil wars, where racial segregation persisted late into the 20th century, and where indigenous peoples’ experiences have for centuries been one of dispossession, brutality and even genocide,” he said.

“Though there were significant and hard-won human rights gains made mainly during the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the USA stands out among Western democracies for its incomplete patchwork of human rights recognition and their legal protection, with minorities and indigenous peoples, most likely left behind in times of upheaval, uncertainty and crisis.

“Recent years have seen these deficiencies in human rights and the phenomenal growth of hate speech in social media, growing inequalities between have and have nots, often minorities and indigenous peoples, creating toxic conditions and an unhealthy pandemic of the mind, a poisoning of individual minds and society in many parts of the country.”

You can read his full statement on OHCHR’s website here.

Mr. Varennes will present his final report on his visit to the U.S. to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2022.

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