In an address on Thursday at an event for UN staff, Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the need to confront racism within the world body, initiating a series of discussions on the subject. More
21 March 2019
Racism: UN experts condemn mosque attacks, urge action against nationalist populism and supremacist ideologies
GENEVA (21 March 2019) – States must take urgent, concerted action to achieve racial equality and stop using nationalist populist rhetoric to stoke discrimination, says a group of UN human rights experts*. The appeal comes on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
“Less than a week ago, a white supremacist committed an Islamophobic terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 people and injuring many others. This tragic event reminds us that racism, xenophobia and religious hatred are deadly and that the result of ethno-nationalist populism and supremacist ideologies is racial violence, exclusion and discrimination.
Statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March 2017
GENEVA (20 March 2017) – The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an annual reminder to us all to do more to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes.
But 21 March needs to be more than a reminder. People of African descent continue to be victims of racist hate crimes and racism in all areas of life. Anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head from the US to Europe to the Middle East and beyond. Muslim women wearing headscarves face increasing verbal, and even physical, abuse in a number of countries. In Latin America, indigenous peoples continue to endure stigmatization, including in the media.
The dangers of demonising particular groups are evident across the world. Xenophobic riots and violence targeting immigrants have recently flared again in South Africa. In South Sudan, polarised ethnic identities – stoked by hate speech – have brought the country to the brink of all-out ethnic war. In Myanmar, the Rohingya Muslim community, long denigrated as “illegal immigrants,” have suffered appalling violations.
SUVA / GENEVA (13 December 2016) – United Nations human rights expert Mutuma Ruteere today called on the Fijian Government to intensify their efforts to end racism and xenophobia.
Mr. Ruteere urged the authorities to adopt a National Action Plan and comprehensive legislation recognising racial or ethnic motives as aggravating circumstances for hate crimes in the criminal legislation.
“The elimination of racial and ethnic divisions in Fiji depends on the unequivocal commitment of the country’s political leadership and willingness to denounce and reject those keen on organising politics along ethnic or racial lines,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism at the end of his first fact-finding visit to the country*.
GENEVA (7 December 2016) – United Nations human rights expert Mutuma Ruteere called on all Australians to strengthen efforts to end racism, xenophobia and other forms of racial discrimination in the country, especially against indigenous people, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, Muslims, and persons of African descent.
“The elimination of racism, xenophobia and discrimination will not happen unless it is led by the most senior political leadership and unless institutions such as the media play a constructive role,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on racism at the end of a fact-finding visit* to Australia.
Delivered by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
Mr. Mutuma Ruteere
5 May 2016 in Canberra, Australia
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we are gathered upon today and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and future. I undertook a visit to Australia from 28 November to 5 December 2016, which is a follow-up visit of my predecessor in 2001. During my visit, I held meetings in Canberra, ACT, Melbourne, Victoria, Sydney, New South Wales and Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
I met with representatives of the Australian Government, State and Territorial Governments, Members of parliament and Senators, judges, representatives of the security forces, the Australian Human Rights Commission and State Human Rights Commissions, indigenous organizations, United Nations entities and international organizations, and non-governmental organizations as well as community members and other groups and individuals working in the field of racism.
Although I did not have the chance to meet Ministers from the Australian Government, I was able to meet with Assistant Ministers as well as State and Territorial Ministers and high-level officials from many Departments at all levels.
Press Conference audio
Who: United Nations Special Rapporteur On the contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mr Mutuma Ruteere.
When: 5 December 2016, 12.30 – 13:30
Where: UN Information Centre, Level 1, 7 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra (John McEwen House)
His visit: He is on a follow-up visit to Australia to gather first-hand information on the situation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the country.
The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at the press conference
Below is a link to original media announcement of visit with supplementary information:
This is the only opportunity for media during the visit. Please note parking is scarce in Barton.
Please let us know if you are able to attend. Refreshments available.
Link to the Special Procedures page ( the Special Rapporteur is part of a group known as Special Procedures who are independent experts appointed by the Human Rights Council.
The UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights provides Secretariat Support to the Human Rights Council and also the Special Procedures )
GENEVA (23 November 2016) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere, will carry out a follow-up visit to Australia from 28 November to 5 December 2016 to gather first-hand information on the situation of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the country.
“During my visit, I will pay special attention to the situation of historically discriminated groups including indigenous populations, persons of African descent, migrants and other vulnerable groups in Australia,” Mr. Ruteere said.
“I will also assess the current trends, manifestations and scope of racism, and follow-up upon the recommendations made in 2001 by the first UN Special Rapporteur on racism, Glèlè-Ahanhanzo,” he noted.
After decades of sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion, and in the wake of a recent article in the Sun newspaper calling migrants “cockroaches,” the UN Human Rights Chief on Friday urged the U.K. authorities, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb incitement to hatred by British tabloid newspapers, in line with the country’s obligations under national and international law. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also called on all European countries to take a firmer line on racism and xenophobia which he said “under the guise of freedom of expression, are being allowed to feed a vicious cycle of vilification, intolerance and politicization of migrants, as well as of marginalized European minorities such as the Roma.” Continue reading