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.
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
obliges States Parties to penalize four categories of misconduct:
dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred,
to racial hatred,
acts of violence or incitement to violence against any race or group of
persons of another color or ethnic origin, and
provision of any assistance to racist activities, including 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.
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.
there remains a substantial area in which the United States can, and
does, give effect to this article.