EU Global Strategy

HRC 32 - EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Geneva, 27/06/2016 - 09:00, UNIQUE ID: 160708_4
Statements on behalf of the EU

Mr. President

The European Union thanks the Special Rapporteur for the presentation of his reports to the Council. The EU shares the Special Rapporteur's concern that extremist political parties, movements and groups pose challenges to human rights and democracy [A/HRC/32/49].

Building on its already solid policy and legal framework, the EU continues to take steps to respond to new challenges. On 31 May 2016, European Commission together with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft unveiled a code of conduct that includes a series of commitments to combat the spread of illegal hate speech online in Europe. On this occasion, Vĕra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, stated that this agreement "is an important step forward to ensure that the internet remains a place of free and democratic expression, where European values and laws are respected". http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1937_en.htm. This step seems to go in the direction of the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur to tackle "racist and xenophobic discourse online" [para.26]. Could the Special Rapporteur elaborate on similar measures taken in other regions?

We welcome the Special Rapporteur's overview of "Regional legal and policy frameworks", including in Europe [A/HRC32/50] and believe that it is important to keep this Council updated on development on legal and policy developments across regions. The report also provides a useful overview of "trends and manifestations" in all regions, confirming that there is no society immune of the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Among your recommendations, you point to the "need to move away from a purely State-centred approach and to put further emphasis on a bottom-up implementation of policies to foster social tolerance, mutual respect and trust" [para.76]. Could you elaborate with concrete examples?

I thank you, Mr President.

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