Communication No. 22/2003
UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
The petitioner, a member of Denmark’s parliament at the material time argued that Denmark had violated, amongst others, Article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination for not proceeding with the conviction of some members of the Progressive Party which he considered to be racist. The Committee found no violation.
Theme(s): Ethnic and Religious Hatred
Date: 9 March 2005
Description of applicant(s): Politician
Brief description of facts: The petitioner was a member of Denmark’s parliament at the material time. On 26 April 2001, Ms. Pia Andersson, a member of the executive board of the Progressive Party faxed to the media two letters on party letterhead stating, amongst others, “No to more Mohammedan rapes! … Cultural enrichments [are] taking place in the shape of negative expressions and rapes against us Danish women, to which we are exposed every day … Now it’s too much, we will not accept more violations from our foreign citizens. Can the Mohammedans not show some respect for us Danish women, and behave like the guests they are in our country, then the politicians in the Parliament has to change course and expel all of them.” Examples of other speech made by members of the Progressive Party against Muslims were included in the case. For example, Margit Petersen (party member, referring to her earlier conviction under section 266 (b) in the State party’s courts): “I’m glad to be a racist. We want a Mohammedan-free Denmark”; “the Blacks breed like rats”. The petitioner requested that the Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination file complaints with the police, which it did. The petitioner alleged, amongst others, a violation of Article 4 of the Convention based on the argument that the State party failed to discharge its positive obligation to take effective action to examine reported incidents, as, for example, the case against certain members of the Progressive Party were discontinued.
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Muslims/Immigrants
The Committee’s assessment of the impugned speech:
Important paragraph(s) from the decision:
7.3 The Committee recalls that Mr. Andreasen made offensive statements about “foreigners” at the party conference. The Committee notes that, regardless of what may have been the position in the State party in the past, 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. The Committee is thus unable to conclude that the State party’s authorities reached an inappropriate conclusion in determining that Mr. Andreasen’s statement, in contrast to the more specific statements of the other speakers, at the party of the conference, did not amount to an act of racial discrimination, contrary to section 266 (b) of the Danish Criminal Code. It also follows that the petitioner was not deprived of the right to an effective remedy for an act of racial discrimination in respect of Mr. Andreasen’s statement.
8. Nevertheless, the Committee considers itself obliged to call the State party’s attention
(i) to the hateful nature of the comments concerning foreigners made by Mr. Andreasen and of the particular seriousness of such speech when made by political figures, and, in this context,
(ii) to its general recommendation 30, adopted at its sixty-fourth session, on discrimination against non-citizens.
ICERD Article: 4
Decision: No violation