Human rights campaigners urge US government to be 'vigilant' on incitement after deadly rally violence
Shocking scenes of violence at last weekend’s far-right protest in Charlottesville, Virginia continued to prompt international condemnation on Wednesday.
A group of human rights campaigners claimed racism and xenophobia were on the rise across the U.S. and hit out at the “racial hatred” shown by right-wing protestors, angry over the planned removal of a Confederate statute from a park in the American city.
"We view these events as the latest examples of increasing racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, racist violence and xenophobia observed in demonstrations across the U.S.," a joint statement from prominent human rights figures read.
Sabelo Gumedze, chair of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; Mutuma Ruteere, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on racism issues, and Anastasia Crickley, chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, all said Washington needed to be “vigilant” on incitement.
“We call upon the U.S. government and state authorities to adopt effective policies as a matter of priority, to urgently tackle the manifestations of incitement to racial violence, and to understand how they affect social cohesion,” the experts said.
They also said recent incidents in California, Oregon, New Orleans and Kentucky, as well as Charlottesville, demonstrated the geographical spread of problems linked to racism.
Far-right demonstrators in Charlottesville “had chanted anti-Black, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans, and said it was of critical importance for those who had committed racist crimes or violence to be held to account," they said.
However, U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said "both sides" were to blame for the deadly violence at the rally in Virginia.
Trump faced a torrent of criticism after his initial comments omitted direct mention of the hate groups behind the rally that left one dead and nearly 20 other people injured.
Widespread protests have erupted across the U.S. since the weekend’s white supremacist gathering in Virginia.