Key UN panel urges US to reject racist hate speech, crimes
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Key UN panel urges US to reject racist hate speech, crimes

In unusual step, committee calls on Washington to 'unequivocally and unconditionally' disavow far-right rally in Charlottesville

In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 photo, James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally took place. Fields was later charged with second-degree murder and other counts after authorities say he plowed a car into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally. (Alan Goffinski via AP)
In this Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017 photo, James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield in Charlottesville, Va., where a white supremacist rally took place. Fields was later charged with second-degree murder and other counts after authorities say he plowed a car into a crowd of people protesting the white nationalist rally. (Alan Goffinski via AP)

GENEVA — A top UN body on racial discrimination has taken the unusual step of calling on the United States to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject racist hate speech and crimes following a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Without referring specifically to US President Donald Trump, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Wednesday pointed to “the failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events” in the United States.

The committee acted under “early warning and urgent action” procedures that have been applied only 20 times since 2003 against countries including Iraq, Burundi, Guyana and Israel. The United States was previously called to respond in 2006 over treatment of a group of Native Americans, the Shoshone.

The UN says such procedures are directed at “preventing existing problems from escalating into conflicts.”

In a statement, CERD pointed to its decision on Friday that calls on the US government to investigate any human rights violations during the August 12 demonstration in Charlottesville, and make sure that freedom of expression does not promote racist speech or crimes.

The decision by the 18-member panel of independent experts comes after CERD chairwoman Anastasia Crickley and other UN experts last week said they were “outraged” over the Charlottesville events.

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