UK urged to tackle tabloid hate speech after migrants called "cockroaches"

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Source: OHCHR

The United Kingdom has been urged by the UN human right chief to curb incitement to hatred by British tabloid newspapers after a recent article in the Sun newspaper called migrants "cockroaches".

The UN human rights office (OHCHR) said on Friday that for decades there has been sustained and unrestrained anti-foreigner abuse, misinformation and distortion.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on all European countries to take a firmer line on racism and xenophobia.

He said that under the guise of freedom of expression, tabloid newspapers are being allowed to feed what he called "a vicious cycle of vilification, intolerance and politicization of migrants".

Rupert Colville is Spokesperson for OHCHR.

An article by a Sun columnist on 17 April began with the words "Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care." Elsewhere in the article she described migrants as "a plague of feral humans," compared them to "a novovirus" and said some British towns were "festering sores, plagued by swarms of migrants and asylum seekers shelling out benefits like Monopoly money." (0'36")

On Monday, a British NGO reported the Sun to the UK's Metropolitan Police and requested the matter be investigated to see whether the article amounts to incitement to racial hatred.

The UN High Commissioner urged the country's authorities to closely examine the broader issue of incitement to hatred by the tabloid press and other sectors of society.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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