Charlottesville violence could prompt new outrages: UN panel

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Anastasia Crickley, chair of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), now meeting in Geneva. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

Violence against protesters in the US town of Charlottesville that left one woman dead should be condemned "at the highest political level," a UN rights body said on Wednesday.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) issued the statement in Geneva.

In it, the panel of rights experts highlight their concern at the "horrific events" and "overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes" of white supremacist groups who were at a rally on 11-12 August.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Thirty-two-year-old Heather Heyer died in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month, when a car ploughed into her and others who were demonstrating against white nationalists.

The appeal by the UN rights panel to the United States to reject the tragedy "at the highest level" comes amid fears that a failure to do so may lead to more incidents in the US in future.

Anastasia Crickley is chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:

"If those things are not condemned unequivocally, at the highest level, then there is the possibility that others will get the idea that it is appropriate and that they are conduct which is if not condoned, at least will not be rejected."

The statement to the US comes as the UN panel continues its scheduled programme of work to discuss progress on eliminating racial discrimination in other Member States.

In addition to their call to the US government to condemn the Charlottesville crimes, the rights experts also urge the "promotion of understanding, tolerance and diversity between ethnic groups."

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’09″


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