Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, A/HRC/23/24, 26 March 2013
II. Information received relating to the existence of extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, and similar extremist ideological movements
B. Protecting vulnerable groups against racist and xenophobic crimes
15. The Special Rapporteur is also concerned about the targeting of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation. In this regard, he was informed about attacks by individuals linked to extreme-right and neo-Nazi groups who had beaten homosexual men and lesbian women during or after public manifestations advocating for the recognition of LGBT rights. Similarly, he was informed about laws and regulations that would prohibit such public events, which aim to promote tolerance and the recognition of sexual orientation. In the view of the Special Rapporteur, the identity of an individual is made up of multiple components, including gender, age, nationality, profession, sexual orientation, political opinion, religious affiliation and social origin; therefore, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect for all, without prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination, should be the basis of human relations of any kind. He urges States to take appropriate measures to address the multiple and often interlinked forms of discrimination faced by individuals on the basis of their race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation.
16. The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the underreporting of racist crimes by victims continues to be a problem, including in the case of irregular migrants and asylum seekers. Lack of reporting distorts statistics and data, and may as a result create the impression that racist crimes by extremist political parties, movements and groups do not exist or are less prevalent than they actually are. Furthermore, lack of reporting and of reliable data remains an important obstacle to address effectively racist, xenophobic and intolerant crimes by individuals closely linked to extremist political parties, movements and groups. The Special Rapporteur reiterates again the importance of collecting accurate statistics and disaggregated data on racist, xenophobic and homophobic crimes. He also encourages States and civil society actors to establish detailed systems for recording, reporting and monitoring all these incidents and to encourage victims to report them.
III. Good practices in countering extremist political parties, movements and groups
24. The Special Rapporteur also welcomes measures taken by States with regard to the training of their officials, in particular law enforcement agents. He was informed of programmes that include human rights training sessions developed for the police, the judiciary and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Special Rapporteur also noted with interest that some countries had developed specific statistics collection systems that disaggregate data on hate crimes, including hate crimes committed against individuals on the grounds of race, colour, ethnicity, origin or minority status, citizenship, language, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender or transgender. The Special Rapporteur also noted that, in the absence of official data in some States, non-governmental organizations play a key role by collecting statistical data on hate crimes. He welcomes these initiatives, which allow the prevalence of such crimes and the impact of legislation on racist and xenophobic crimes to be assessed.
IV. Conclusions and recommendations
31. As stated in the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence should be prohibited by law, as should be the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to respect the commitments made in the Durban documents. He calls upon States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to comply fully with their obligations as enshrined in article 4 of the Convention. In this connection, it is crucial to introduce into domestic criminal law a provision to the effect that the commission of an offence with racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic or homophobic motivation or aim constitutes an aggravating circumstance attracting heavier sanctions.
32. The Special Rapporteur recalls that States have the responsibility of bringing to justice the perpetrators of crimes with racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic or homophobic motivation and to fight against impunity. Indeed, as stated in paragraph 81 of the Durban Declaration, any form of impunity for crimes motivated by racist and xenophobic attitudes plays a role in weakening the rule of law and democracy and tends to encourage the recurrence of such acts. States should therefore ensure prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into these crimes, and that those responsible are adequately sanctioned.
33. The Special Rapporteur reiterates his recommendation that States should collect disaggregated data and statistics on racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic crimes in order to identify the types of offences committed, the characteristics of the victims and of the perpetrators, whether they are affiliated with an extremist political party, movement or group. Such disaggregated data would allow for a clear and concise assessment of the phenomenon and of the effectiveness of measures taken to address these crimes. Adequate financial, human and technical resources should be provided to improve the quality of data-collection systems where they already exist, while ensuring that civil society is involved in this process and that it is undertaken in such a way as to guarantee the protection of privacy.
34. The Special Rapporteur also recommends that the capacity of law enforcement officials and members of the judiciary be strengthened further to address crimes motivated by racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic or homophobic biases. Complete and mandatory human rights training, including training with a specific focus on racist and xenophobic crimes perpetrated by individuals linked to extremist political parties, groups and movements should be available to public officials. Law enforcement agents should also be provided with the necessary guidelines and procedures to be able to identify, investigate and register such crimes. States should also ensure that law enforcement agents further engage with vulnerable groups who are particularly at risk of racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic or homophobic crimes in order to reduce their fears and concerns, restore confidence in the application of the rule of law and report such crimes adequately.
Link to full text of the report: Report-SRRacism-HRC-Nazism-2013-eng