Hate speech" by political leaders in Western Europe "disturbing": Pillay

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Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says that she's disturbed by the recent increase, across the political spectrum, in several countries in Western Europe of discussions which she says are "rooted in anti-immigrant and racist sentiment, and religious intolerance."

Speaking at the opening of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Ms Pillay said that expressions of racial, religious or xenophobic division that overtly call for, or suggest, targeted actions against minority groups should be anathema in every Member State of the UN:

"The new European Parliament will include a German party leader who has said, I quote, 'Europe is the continent of white people and it should remain that way'; a French party leader who has compared peaceful Muslim street prayers to the military occupation of her country by the Nazis; an Italian member who has been found guilty of arson for setting fire to the pallets of migrants sleeping under a bridge. There is a road to perpetration of human rights violations. And hate speech – particularly by political leaders – is on that road."  (37″)

Speaking on Syria, Ms Pillay said that it's "shocking beyond words that war crimes and crimes against humanity have become commonplace" and that she is disappointed that the Security Council hasn't been able to reach agreement on action to ensure accountability for such crimes.

Nicki Chadwick, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'30"


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