UK urged to tackle tabloid rhetoric on migrants

human rights 01 May 2015
Concerns have been raised by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that an article in The Sun made comments against migrants that would incite racial hatred.
The article compares migrants to ‘cockroaches’ and calls them ‘feral humans’. The Society of Black Lawyers has reported the article to the police, and many are hoping that this complaint will be taken seriously. The society’s complaint notes that many of the African migrants fleeing Libya, who were the target of the ‘cockroaches’ comment, would have valid claims for asylum under the Geneva Convention.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has called upon the UK authorities, media and regulatory bodies to address this issue, and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) notes that the article in The Sun is part of a wider picture of migrants being targeted and vilified in the UK tabloid press. The OHCHR commented: ‘many of these stories have been grossly distorted and some have been outright fabrications.’
While some argue that the newspapers are simply exercising freedom of expression, the OHCHR stated: ‘Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law’ under Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein went on to say ‘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.’
This is particularly important as immigration is a hot topic in the forthcoming General Election.

Tags: human rights

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