Prevention of incitement to hatred and genocide, particularly by the media

Sub-Commission resolution 1995/4

The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,

Guided by the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, in particular, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which prohibit all dissemination of ideas or incitement to acts of violence against any group of persons of another ethnic origin (art. 4 of the Convention), or any advocacy of racial hatred that constitutes incitement to hostility or violence (art. 20, para. 2, of the Covenant) and call for them to be punishable by law,

Recalling that the States Parties to those instruments have undertaken, before the international community, to put those principles into practice and to fulfil the obligations which they have entered into,

Emphasizing that, in their final report to the Sub-Commission on the right to freedom of opinion and expression (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/9 and Add.1), the Special Rapporteurs, Mr. Joinet and Mr. Türk, recall that, under international law, racism is not an opinion but an offence,

Having particularly in mind General Assembly resolution 48/91, of 20 December 1993, proclaiming the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, in which the Assembly recommended that Member States and those responsible for United Nations machinery for the protection of human rights should pay special attention to the role of the media in the dissemination of racist ideas and incitement to hatred and racial violence,

Recalling that the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide singles out direct and public incitement to commit genocide, in particular, as a punishable offence (arts. III (c) and IV), provides that such acts shall not be considered as political crimes for the purpose of extradition (art. VII) and invites any Contracting Party to call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide, including incitement to commit them, as provided in article III (c) (art. VIII),

Gravely concerned by the import of detailed and tallying information that the reporters of a radio station calling itself "Radio Démocratie-La Voix du Peuple", transmitting from the Uvira region of Zaire, broadcast with complete impunity, under cover of anonymity, "information" inciting racial hatred among Burundi citizens and stirring up genocidal hatred,

1. Condemns categorically the existence of this radio station and of any other media adopting such criminal practices;

2. Urges the authorities of Zaire, as a Party to the above-mentioned international instruments, to take steps to close down this radio station, prosecute its sponsors and "reporters", order an investigation and, in that connection, place under seal all materials and recordings which may serve as evidence, and to bring the "reporters" and their sponsors before the competent courts;

3. Suggests that the Special Rapporteur on Zaire, Mr. Roberto Garreton, in conjunction with the Special Rapporteur on Burundi, Mr. Paolo Sergio Pinheiro, accord priority in his observations to the role of such media, audiovisual or otherwise, in the propagation of genocidal behaviour;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to transmit this resolution to the Zairian authorities and asks the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to use his good offices, as a matter of urgency, to facilitate its implementation by those authorities;

5. Condemns categorically the role played with increasing frequency by some printed or audiovisual media in inciting genocidal hatred, as revealed by the Special Rapporteurs on the former Yugoslavia and on Rwanda, Mr. Mazowiecki and Mr. Degni-Ségui;

6. Decides to consider at its next session, in the light of the facts observed and the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteurs who have been confronted with such practices, as well as of any other information from reliable sources, the pernicious and genocidal role of such hate media and the priority measures to be taken to prevent and, if necessary, to suppress them.

27th meeting
18 August 1995
[Adopted without a vote.]


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