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Economic and Social Council
18 January 2006
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Item 6 of the provisional agenda
RACISM, RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA
AND ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
Report submitted by Mr. Doudou Diène, Special Rapporteur
on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination,
xenophobia and related intolerance
This report is submitted by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance pursuant to resolution 2005/64 adopted by the Commission on Human Rights at its sixty-first session. It expands on the comments made by the Special Rapporteur when introducing his interim report (A/60/283) before the General Assembly at its sixtieth session. The present report should be read in conjunction with the reports on the question of political platforms which promote or incite racial discrimination (E/CN.4/2006/54) and on the situation of Arab and Muslim populations in various regions of the world (E/CN.4/2006/17) submitted by the Special Rapporteur to the Commission at the current session.
Since the Commission’s previous session, the Special Rapporteur has, in all his activities, relied on a dual approach: close monitoring and analysis of old and new forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, and a dual strategy to combat them: both political and legal as well as cultural and ethical. The political and legal strategy, in consonance with the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, is based on two major priority government measures: the expression of a firm political will to combat racism, and the adoption and implementation of national legislation against racism, discrimination and xenophobia. The intellectual and ethical strategy must seek to promote better understanding of the deep cultural roots of racism, and its ideological, cultural and psychological foundations, processes and mechanisms.
CONTEMPORARY MANIFESTATIONS OF RACISM,
RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, XENOPHOBIA AND
B. Anti-Semitism and Christianaphobia
35. The resurgence in anti-Semitism may be illustrated by three concomitant manifestations: the increase in individual acts, the resilience of intellectual legitimization, and political exploitation. The most dramatic and symbolic manifestation of individual acts of anti-Semitism concerns the profanation, the desecration of tombs and places of worship. While such profanation affects all religions, those affecting places identified as Jewish are more common in many countries, particularly in Europe. Thus, in France, instances of profanation increased from a level of 30 incidents at Jewish cemeteries and places of worship in 2003 to 91, from 13 to 87 for Muslims, and from 38 to 94 for Christians. Three groups stand out among those arrested: the extreme right or skinhead neo-Nazi Movement, young “satanists”, and young people with a gamut of motivations, ranging from support for the Palestinian people to aping television and films. In London, eight young orthodox Jews, recognizable by their black suits and hats, were attacked by gangs of young blacks and Asians. The attacks were accompanied by anti-Semitic insults and Nazi salutes. Similar incidents have taken place at several other locations in Britain. Intellectual legitimatization is reflected by the number of publications increasingly distributed, in particular by the extreme right, on the Internet. Revisionist literature comes not only from extreme right-wing writers but also from university circles, as shown by several recent examples in France, in particular in Lyon. Political manipulation represents the most serious manifestation of the resurgence of anti-Semitism. The resurgence and electoral impact of racist and xenophobic political platforms testify to the vigour of a culture of racism and discrimination in general, in which context anti-Semitism has a long history, but also to a lowering of the political and moral guard and the cultural acceptance of anti-Semitism as normal. This ominous trend has recently been illustrated in Russia. A group of nationalist Russian deputies signed a pamphlet on the eve of the commemoration of the liberation of the Auschwitz camp which officially called for the prohibition of all Jewish organizations in the country. The parliamentary motion called upon the Procurator-General of Russia, in the name of “defence of the homeland”, to launch “an official judicial inquiry into the prohibition of all Jewish religious and community organizations”. The Special Rapporteur will draw attention to the significance and import of this step during his visit to the Russian Federation in the spring of 2006. The questioning of the right to exist of the State of Israel, in contravention of United Nations resolutions, constitutes a manifestation of anti-Semitism. The President of the Islamic Republic of Iran has recently provided an illustration of this in denying that the Holocaust took place and in advocating the removal of the State of Israel to Europe. This position undermines the position of the international community on the existence of two States, Israeli and Palestinian. The Special Rapporteur, informed of allegedly anti-Semitic remarks by the Iranian President, Ahmedinejad, formally brought the matter to the attention of the Iranian authorities in the context of a procedure for allegations of racism and discrimination.