UN says countries must act vs. racism

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution against racism and discrimination Dec. 20, after the U.S. and two other countries sought to block it.

The resolution, sponsored by Russia and co-sponsored by Belarus, Cuba, Vietnam, Venezuela and others, says the world community is “alarmed” at the worldwide spread of “of various extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups.”

It says member states must “declare as an offense the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, the incitement to racial discrimination and acts of violence directed at any race or group of another color or ethnic origin.”

Russia said the focus is “promoting dialogue in the face of various extremist groups … who perpetrated violence against those whose skin was of a different color, those of a different religion and immigrants.”

The U.S. was joined only by Japan and Micronesia in opposing the resolution. The U.S. argued that some provisions violated freedom of speech.

Rejecting this approach, Costa Rica’s representative said, “The initiative should have been adopted by consensus.”

dmargolis @ pww.org