The United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has urged the U.S. government to reject racist speech and ideology and criticized its “failure at the highest political level” to unequivocally condemn the racist violence at Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month.
The statement released online and apparently written last week, does not mention President Trump by name. But it’s clearly a response to Trump’s mixed messages in the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville.
The committee notes that Heather Heyer was killed as she protested against the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and that Deandre Harris was beaten by a crowd of white supremacists. The rally they were both protesting was filled with “overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes” by “white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan,” the U.N. panel wrote.
And in response, it said, the U.S. failed to “unequivocally reject and condemn the racist violent events and demonstrations.” Trump’s initial remarks condemned violence on “many sides.” After a second statement that singled out white supremacists, Trump returned to the issue again and claimed there were “very fine people” who took part in the white nationalist event.
The anti-racism committee warned that the lack of a full-throated condemnation was “potentially fuelling the proliferation of racist discourse and incidents.”
The statement from the committee is a kind of “early warning and urgent action” meant to identify pressing problems of racism and prevent them from worsening.
The committee has used the procedure “only 20 times since 2003 against countries including Iraq, Burundi, Guyana and Israel,” The Associated Press reports. “The United States was previously called to respond in 2006 over treatment of a group of Native Americans, the Shoshone.”