Hate crime: United Nations targets the Internet and social media networks
Jim Kouri|Law Enforcement Examiner
August 14, 2013
On Tuesday, the United Nations' Human Rights Office voiced its fears over what the UN claims is the rapid spread of racist hate speech across borders via the Internet and social media networks.
The UN's Flavia Pansieri, its recently appointed deputy high commissioner for the Human Rights Office, stated that, as she sees it, the Internet racist speech is "compounded by the lack of a universally acceptable definition of what constitutes hate speech."
But according to US Constitutional law scholar, Jay Sekulow, an attorney and founder of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), "Russia is pushing for a move that would turn over control of the Internet from a US-based entity to the United Nations. This troubling power play would give unprecedented authority to the UN. Such a move would mean only one thing: censorship."
Ms. Pansieri spoke at the start of the latest session of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by its State parties.
According to the CERD mandate, "All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially one year after acceding to the Convention and then every two years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of 'concluding observations.'"
Commissioner Pansieri stated that incorporating human rights education in schools would go along way in the prevention and eradication of all forms of discrimination and intolerance.
She noted during her presentation:
“Where does the right of expression which we all want to respect stop and the need to sanction and prevent hate speech begin? What is the point in time when one right has to recognize that it cannot be exercised if it implies the violation of another one?
“[For example,] persons with albinism have been dismembered alive. There have been abductions in 15 African states and the special Rapporteur has strongly urged governments to really engage in raising awareness and understanding that the different color of skin of persons with albinism doesn't make them less human beings and any less deserving or having all the rights respected and protected. ”
However, Sekulow claims that "the UN's goal is to put the Internet under global government control, consider this clause taken from the Russian proposal - clearly putting UN member states and the United Nations at the helm of controlling and regulating the Internet: Member States should endeavor to establish policies aimed at meeting public requirements with respect to Internet access and use, and at assisting, including through international cooperation, administrations and operating agencies in supporting the operation and development of the Internet."