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Published on Sep 29, 2015
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council General Debate Under Agenda Item: 9 - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
Speaker Name: Mr. Ignatius Yordan Nugraha
In the face of overwhelming odds, thousands of refugees managed to reach their country of destination in Europe safely. Their ordeal is far from over, as European Union countries currently are still plagued by the problem of discrimination against refugees, migrants, and immigrants. Refugees and immigrants from the Middle East are often branded as illegal, job stealers, and a burden, while sectarian prejudices suspect their coming as an Islamic invasion. Such attitude translates into discrimination, particularly in the economic sector. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and the Special Rapporteur on Racism, report discrimination “with regard to, inter alia, remuneration, excessive overtime, opportunities for promotion, access to health care and unfair dismissals.” European Union states that are founded on the values of human rights and the rule of law are obliged under international human rights law, particularly the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to undertake positive and negative measures in order to eliminate this de facto discrimination. With regards to hate speech, Article 4 of the Racial Discrimination Convention imposes the obligation to eradicate such incitement, and the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights has recommended states to intensify their effort to create a culture of tolerance. In light of the recent plan to implement the refugee quota scheme in the European Union, member states of the EU must ensure that these refugees, who have faced unimaginable catastrophes in their homeland, will not face discrimination during their residence, as discrimination will be another ordeal for them whose dignity and rights have been severely violated in their home country. This refugee crisis raises issues that might be construed as a test case of EU's commitment to respecting refugees' rights and nations' obligations under international law.