UK must stop inciting hatred against migrants: UN human rights chief [Xinhua]
GENEVA, April 24 (Xinhua) — The United Nations Human Rights chief on Friday urged authorities in Britain, media and regulatory bodies to take steps to curb incitement to hatred, in the wake of a recent article in The Sun newspaper calling migrants “cockroaches.”
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also called on all European countries to take a firmer line on racism and xenophobia which he said often feeds a vicious cycle of vilification, intolerance and politicization of migrants under the guise of freedom of expression.
“This vicious verbal assault on migrants and asylum seekers in the British tabloid press has continued unchallenged under the law for far too long,” he said, adding that while he was an unswerving advocate of freedom of expression, the right was not absolute.
Zeid said the tabloid press was “sapping compassion for the thousands of people fleeing conflict, human rights violations and economic deprivation who are drowning in the Mediterranean.”
“The nasty underbelly of racism may also risk making the crisis even worse, and could sadly result in further massive loss of life,” he added.
Zeid noted that the Sun article was simply one of the more extreme examples of thousands of anti-foreigner articles that have appeared in UK tabloids over the past two decades.
The High Commissioner noted that “while migration and refugee issues are completely valid topics for public debate, it is imperative that migration policy decisions that affect people’s lives and fundamental human rights should be made on the basis of fact — not fiction, exaggeration or blatant xenophobia.”
Earlier this week a British NGO, the Society of Black Lawyers, reported The Sun to Britain’s Metropolitan Police and requested the matter be investigated under the 1986 Public Order Act to see whether the article amounts to incitement to racial hatred.
Editor: Mu Xuequan
Article original title: “Stop inciting hatred against migrants: UN human rights chief”