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Article 4 Eliminate Incitements or Acts of Discrimination

United States Report on Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,
  Initial Country Report (Sept, 2000). 

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Vernellia R. Randall
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As a nation, the American people reject all theories of the superiority of one race or group of persons of one color or ethnic origin or theories which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination. It is government policy to condemn such theories, and none is espoused at any level of government.

The Convention requires more however. States Parties must "undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination." More specifically, Article 4(a) obliges States Parties to penalize four categories of misconduct:

 (i)   all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred,

 (ii)   incitement to racial hatred,

 (iii)   all acts of violence or incitement to violence against any race or group of persons of another color or ethnic origin, and

 (iv)   the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof.

The Committee has stressed the importance with which it views these obligations, as reflected, for example, in General Recommendation VII adopted in 1985 in which the Committee stressed the mandatory character of Article 4, and General Recommendation XV of 1993 in which the Committee stated its opinion that "the prohibition of the dissemination of all ideas based on racial superiority or hatred is compatible with the right to freedom of opinion and expression." Article 4(b) requires States Parties to declare illegal and prohibit organizations which promote and incite racial discrimination, to prohibit their propaganda activities, and to make participation in such organizations and activities an offense punishable by law. Article 4(c) imposes an obligation to forbid public authorities and institutions from promoting or inciting racial discrimination.

 Constitutional Limitations. For the reasons described earlier, the ability of the United States to give effect to these requirements is circumscribed by Constitutional protections of individual freedom of speech, expression and association. Accordingly, the United States took a reservation to this article, and to the corresponding provisions of Article 7, to make clear that it cannot accept any obligation to restrict those rights, through the adoption of legislation or any other measures, to the extent that they are protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Nonetheless, there remains a substantial area in which the United States can, and does, give effect to this article. 

Same level:
Introduction ] General Report ] Legal Prohibition ] U.S. Reservations, Understandings and Declarations ] Compliance with Specific Articles ] Article 1 - Racial Discrimination ] Article 2 ] Art 3 Condemn Racial Segregation and Apartheid ] [ Article 4 Eliminate Incitements or Acts of Discrimination ] Article 5 Equality Under the Law ] Article 6 Assure Effective Protection and Remedies ] Article 7 Adopt Measures ] Conclusion ]
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[Race and Racial Groups] [Citizenship Rights]  [Justice and Race] [Patterns of Basic Needs] [Intersectionality Issues] [Human Rights]

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