UN committee faults Denmark for failing to probe ‘racist’ art exhibit


People hold placards on the inaugural Million People March on August 30, 2020. — AFP
Individuals maintain placards on the inaugural Million Individuals March on August 30, 2020. — AFP

GENEVA: Denmark didn’t take efficient measures in opposition to racist hate speech when it dropped an investigation into an artwork exhibition depicting “racist hate photographs” almost a decade in the past, a UN watchdog mentioned Tuesday.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) dominated in favour of a Swedish man who filed a criticism in opposition to Denmark’s lack of motion over a 2014 artwork exhibit by which he and different individuals of color had been depicted in a humiliating manner that might incite racial hatred.

“It doesn’t suffice merely to declare acts of racial discrimination punishable on paper,” committee member Mehrdad Payandeh mentioned within the assertion.

“Prison legal guidelines and different authorized provisions prohibiting racial discrimination, together with racist hate speech, should even be successfully applied.”

The case was introduced in 2017 by Momodou Jallow, the previous spokesman for the Nationwide Affiliation of Afro-Swedes and the nationwide coordinator for the European Community In opposition to Racism in Sweden.

He complained that Danish authorities had discontinued their investigation into an exhibit at a personal gallery in Copenhagen three years earlier by Swedish road artist Dan Parks, who had already been convicted in Sweden for defamation and incitement to hatred.

Incitement to violence

Sponsored by the far-right Danish Individuals’s Occasion, the exhibit included a picture of Jallow and two different black individuals hanging from a bridge, with the caption “dangle on, afrofobians,” and one other depicted Jallow as a runaway slave with the textual content “our negro slave has run away”.

Jallow filed a criticism in opposition to the artist and the organisers, alleging racial discrimination.

The state prosecutor in Copenhagen opened an investigation however discontinued proceedings citing nationwide and European legal guidelines on freedom of expression.

After his enchantment in Denmark was rejected, Jallow introduced his case to CERD, sustaining that the Danish choice violated the conference.

The committee decided that the pictures displayed constituted expressions of racist hate speech.

It acknowledged the necessity to strike a steadiness between the proper to freedom of expression and the duty to battle racist hate speech.

However it mentioned the depictions and phrases, on this case, had been notably regarding as they expressed the concept of racial superiority and will incite violence.

“Among the footage displayed particular anti-discrimination activists, with messages to humiliate them and tarnish their dignity, and that may incite racial hatred and violence,” Payandeh mentioned.

The committee, whose opinions and suggestions are non-binding however carry reputational weight, dominated that the Danish authorities had failed to provide an applicable and proportional response within the case.

It mentioned Denmark ought to apologise to Jallow and grant him “a full reparation”.


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