Human Rights Council 28th Session Item 9 Statement by Turkey

Selçuk Özcan 23.03.2015

Mr. President,

Today, our common struggle against racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and Islamophobia is more relevant than ever. These scourges continue to present a permanentchallenge to the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms. They threaten peace as well as the harmonious fabric of modern societies.

Members of religious or ethnic groups are increasingly subjected to hostile acts. There is also a tendency to stigmatize people on the basis of race, color, descent and national or ethnic origin, and to use racist propaganda in politics. Therefore, especially in the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, it is all the more important to prevent further initiatives aiming at dividing our societies on the lines of race, ethnicity and belief.

Economic downturns, unemployment and marginalisation unfortunately contribute to the rise of extremist ideologies, and experience shows that these extremist ideologies lay the seeds of further confrontation and extremism. Racist discourse and hate speech target in particular the vulnerable groups. The tendency to stigmatize immigrants, especially migrant workers as scapegoats for the ills of the society is a dangerous phenomenon.

The examples show that no society and no community is immune of this scourge. Therefore, we have a moral and legal obligation to unite and stick to our common struggle to protect the dignity of individuals and their right to be free from discrimination.

With this understanding, Turkey took a leading part in the preparation of the historic Resolution 16/18 which listed the guiding principles on combating intolerance based on religion. A follow-up resolution on the issue will be presented to the Council shortly and we believe it to be another opportunity for the Council to reaffirm its commitment to tackle the issue.

On a final note, I would like to underline the importance of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) while we celebrate its 50th anniversary. ICERD has been in an avant-gardeposition in defining the main elements of our struggle against racial discrimination since its inception. Turkey has been and will remain committed to the ICERD.

Thank you.

Atatürk

Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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