Having solved other major world problems such as North Korean nuclear proliferation and world hunger, the UN has decided to weigh in on the American political scene with warnings about racial strife. The committee, known as the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, specifically pointed to the events in Charlottesville, Va. as the catalyst for releasing the report.
The story from Yahoo News:
A UN committee tasked with combatting racism has issued a formal “early warning” over conditions in the United States, a rare move often used to signal the potential of a looming civil conflict.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said it had invoked its “early warning and urgent action procedure” because of the proliferation of racist demonstrations in the US.
It specifically noted the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a woman was killed after an avowed white supremacist ploughed his car into a group of anti-racism counterprotestors.
The racism committee, part of the UN human rights office, can issue a formal early warning to help prevent “existing problems from escalating into conflict” or to “prevent a resumption of conflict where it has previously occurred”, according to the rights office website.
President Donald Trump has been widely criticised for his response to the Charlottesville clashes, after he said “both sides” were to blame for the violence.
The UN committee urged Washington, “as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech”, without mentioning Trump by name.
This isn’t the first time the UN has attempted to get involved in American politics as it sent a group in 2012 to monitor the voting process. At the time, the UN was criticized for sending monitors from countries which are specifically deemed as “not free” by the US State Department.
Clearly the new UN warning is directed at President Trump, since racial tensions heightened during the years of President Obama, but there were no warnings such as this one issued by the international body.
The UN commission explained their reasoning:
“We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred,” committee head Anastasia Crickley said in a statement.
The committee monitors compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which the US ratified in 1994.
The US warning marks the seventh such alert issued in the past decade.
They mainly concern countries gripped by ethnic and religious strife, including Burundi, Nigeria, Iraq and Ivory Coast.
Hateful speech is tolerated under the First Amendment, which is something that most countries don’t have. When speech crosses the line into violence or incitement of violence, then it’s time to rein it in. Many Europeans countries have simply outlawed various forms of speech deemed as “offensive,” so they will simply arrest you if you stand on a street corner spewing vile.
I would venture to say that within the next five years, we’ll see some new court cases on the limits of free speech, and the plaintiffs could come from either political side depending on the circumstances.
The LA Times has an informative article which details many eyewitness accounts from the ground in Charlottesville. The question of which side started the violence is murky at best, but the blame is unquestionably shared. The unfortunate result was that things escalated to the point where lives were needlessly lost and America took a black eye for allowing speech to escalate to violence.
As Matt Walsh of conservative news site, The Blaze, put it, “Dear alt-right white supremacists and leftist Antifa thugs, you deserve each other”