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The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination - A Commentary by Thornberry, Patrick (14th July 2016)

11 Article 4: Racist Hate Speech

From: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: A Commentary

Patrick Thornberry

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 05 July 2020

Hate speech — Ethnicity — Minorities — Race

This chapter covers Article 4, which addresses ‘racist hate speech’ through the use of penal provisions. CERD understands racist hate speech as ‘a form of other-directed speech which rejects the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality and seeks to degrade the standing of individuals and groups in the estimation of society’. Half a century after the adoption of the Convention, racist hate speech remains a significant social phenomenon. The rationale of taking racist speech seriously can be understood by reflecting on the discourses of dehumanization that are characteristic elements of genocidal processes, or on the climate of oppression that can flourish if unchecked against vulnerable minorities through normalization or banalization of discourses of racial inferiority and superiority. Targeted groups well appreciate that the lines between thought, public discourse, and oppressive action can be very thin.

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