UN report warns of global resurgence of racism and religious intolerance

22 September 2005 –

As a result of the proliferation of anti-terrorist policy, discrimination against religious groups, minorities and migrant populations is on the rise, particularly at waiting areas at airports, ports and borders, the United Nations' top official for monitoring racism warns in his latest report to the UN General Assembly.

"The General Assembly is invited to draw the attention of Member States to the alarming signs of a retreat in the struggle against racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia as a result of the growing number of counter-terrorism policies that generate new forms of discrimination against groups and entire communities, religions and spiritual traditions," writes Doudou Diene, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on racism and related intolerance.

In that context, he said that discrimination against Muslims must be given special attention, but greater vigilance might also be needed against anti-Semitism and "Christianophobia."

As discrimination is increasing in waiting areas of transportation facilities, the report recommends that Assembly Members take measures to prevent those areas from becoming so-called "no rights zones."

Among the measures proposed are training for border policy, care in adopting measures motivated by security threats, and the issuance of basic guarantees in waiting areas.

In addition, the Special Rapporteur requests States to increase their commitment to fight the increase in racist incidents in sports, particularly football, which he first drew attention to his previous report. These consisted not only of actions of some team supporters, but also comments and behaviour of coaches of famous teams who trivialize or legitimize racist or xenophobic incidents.

Among other remedies, he recommends an event against racism be held on the occasion of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, at the initiative of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and the host country.

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