Communication No. 36/2006
UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The petitioner argued that the decision not to prosecute a member of the Danish People’s Party for comments made against Muslims violated, inter alia, Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Committee found the communication to be incompatible ratione materiae.
Theme(s): Ethnic and Religious Hatred
Date: 10 February 2006
Description of applicant(s): Citizen
Brief description of facts: In view of the elections of 15 November 2005, Ms. Louise Frevert, Member of Parliament for the Danish People’s Party, published on her website statements against immigrants and Muslims, under the headline “articles no one dares to publish”. These included statements relating to Muslims, such as: “…because they think that we are the ones that should submit to Islam, and they are confirmed in this belief by their preachers and leaders. (…) Whatever happens, they believe that they have a right to rape Danish girls and knock down Danish citizens.” The Documentary and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination filed complaints against Frevert for violations of section 266b of the Danish Criminal Code which prohibits racial statements. These were rejected. The petitioner claimed that the decision of the police not to initiate an investigation violates, inter alia, Article 4 ICERD.
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Muslims/Immigrants
The Committee’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Committee found the application to be inadmissible as there was no singling out of a group of persons contrary to Article 1 of the ICERD.
Important paragraph(s) from the decision:
6.4 The Committee recalls its prior jurisprudence in Quereshi v. Denmark that, “a general reference to foreigners does not at present single out a group of persons, contrary to article 1 of the Convention, on the basis of a specific race, ethnicity, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin” Similarly, in this particular case, it considers that the general references to Muslims, do not single out a particular group of persons, contrary to article 1 of the Convention. It, therefore, concludes that the petition falls outside the scope of the Convention and declares it inadmissible ratione materiae under article 14, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
6.5 Although the Committee considers that it is not within its competence to examine the present petition, it takes note of the offensive nature of the statements complained of and recalls that freedom of speech carries with it both duties and responsibilities. It takes the opportunity to remind the State party of its Concluding Observations, following consideration of the State party’s reports in 2002 and 2006, in which it had commented and made recommendations upon: (a) the considerable increase in reported cases of widespread harassment of people of Arab and Muslim backgrounds since 11 September 2001; (b) the increase in the number of racially motivated offences; and (c) the increase in the number of complaints of hate speech, including by politicians within the State party. It also encourages the State party to follow-up on its recommendations and to provide pertinent information on the above concerns in the context of the Committee’s procedure for follow-up to its concluding observations.
ICERD Article: 4
Decision: Incompatible ratione materiae