In another measure of how alarmed human rights experts are over the rapid erosion of civil norms in this country during Trump’s mere half-year in office, a United Nations panel is issuing a formal warning over conditions in the United States more usually associated with troubled nations like Iraq, Burundi, and Nigeria.
A UN committee tasked with combatting racism has issued a formal “early warning” over conditions in the United States, a rare move often used to signal the potential of a looming civil conflict.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said it had invoked its “early warning and urgent action procedure” because of the proliferation of racist demonstrations in the US.
The warning comes after a white supremacist murdered one and injured others in an act of domestic terrorism during racist demonstrations in Charlottesville, and the committee makes it clear that it was those demonstrations and their aftermath that led to the issuance of the warning. In its statement, the committee explicitly urged “high-level politicians and public figures” in this country to “unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country.”
“We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred”, said CERD Chairperson Anastasia Crickley.
In addition to the criminal investigation of the individual who ploughed his car into a crowd of peaceful protestors killing Ms. Heather Heyer, the UN experts asked the US authorities to undertake concrete measures “to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations.”
“We call on the US Government to investigate thoroughly the phenomenon of racial discrimination targeting, in particular, people of African descent, ethnic or ethno-religious minorities, and migrants,” added Ms. Crickley.
Ethnic and ethno-religious minorities and migrants have been the specific target of Trump administration action (the sensationalization of crimes by migrants, the travel ban targeting visitors from Muslim-majority nations) and specific, sustained rhetorical attacks by Trump himself, both before and during his presidency. Racism against black Americans is a fixture of the white nationalist movement that has repeatedly endorsed Trump as their ally.