UN CERD publishes results on Chile, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland and Thailand

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GENEVA (December 3, 2021) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) today published its findings on the contracting states of Chile, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland and Thailand, which it reviewed during its last meeting.

The results include positive aspects of the implementation of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by individual countries, as well as the main concerns and recommendations of the committee. Some of the main highlights are:

Chile
The committee was concerned about the excessive use of force by the Carabineros, the national police, against members of the Mapuche community during public demonstrations. He called on the State party to ensure that law enforcement authorities fully respect human rights and do not use violence against indigenous communities, especially at mass gatherings.

The Committee remained deeply concerned about the desecration of sacred sites and the negative impact on the environment, health and traditional way of life of indigenous communities resulting from the establishment of landfills on their territory. It recommended that Chile conduct systematic environmental impact assessments and ensure that indigenous peoples are consulted before approving any investment project.

Denmark
The Committee expressed concern at the level of inadequate reporting and the lack of comprehensive data on hate crime and hate speech incidents in Denmark. He recommended that the State party raise awareness of what hate crimes are and what forms of hate speech can be prosecuted. It called on the authorities to put in place a data collection system that records racist hate crimes and incidents of hate speech separately with disaggregated data, including the category of crime, type of motivation, target audience and judicial follow-up.

Regarding the recent amendment to the Danish Aliens Act, which allows asylum seekers to be transferred to a third country outside the European Union, the Committee reminded Denmark of its obligation to protect asylum seekers under relevant international law. He also called on the State party to reconsider its assessment of the designation of Damascus and Rif Damascus as safe zones for the repatriation of persons whose temporary protection status has been revoked or whose application for renewal of temporary protection status has been denied.

Singapore
CERD noted that Singapore had not taken sufficient measures to combat structural discrimination against ethnic minorities; it expressed concern about the high percentage of ethnic minorities in the country’s criminal justice system, particularly on death row. He recommended that the State party ensure that minority groups in the criminal justice system have full access to legal aid and health services.

Regarding the situation of migrant workers, the Committee recommended that Singapore should allow them to change jobs without the consent of their employer and end wage discrimination based on nationality.

Switzerland
The Committee expressed concern about the growing number of cases of racist hate speech against Yenish, Sinti, Roma, people of African and Asian descent, and ethnic or religious hate speech against Jews and Muslims on the internet and on social media. He called on the State party to take steps to prevent and combat racist hate speech and to ensure that all reported cases are thoroughly investigated.

The committee was also concerned about the persistence of racial profiling by the police. The Committee called on the State party, in consultation with the most vulnerable population groups, to formulate an action plan to combat racial profiling and to take further legislative measures to ban racial profiling.

Thailand

The Committee expressed concern about the mass collection and use of DNA samples from ethnic and ethno-religious groups in the southern border provinces and the use of facial recognition technology based on ethnicity. It called on Thailand to take action to ban racial profiling and increase the training of law enforcement officers and military personnel. It also called on the State party to ban the collection of DNA samples, the use of facial recognition technology and the entry into law enforcement databases of such data, which could lead to racial prejudice.

The Committee was also concerned about the diverse and overlapping forms of discrimination faced by ethnic and ethno-religious groups and indigenous peoples, including the Isaan, Karen, Lahu, Malayu-Thai, Mani, Moken and Urak Lawoi. The Committee urged Thailand to remove the barriers preventing these minorities from accessing public services and to implement measures to reduce their poverty.

The Committee’s Concluding Observations above are now available online on the meeting’s website.

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