W&L Law’s Drumbl Provides Testimony to United Nations on Anti-racism Initiatives Law professor Mark Drumbl recently provided expert testimony to the drafting committee tasked with developing a protocol to the United Nations Convention to Eliminate Racial Discrimination.
Washington and Lee law professor Mark Drumbl recently provided expert testimony to the drafting committee tasked with developing a protocol to the United Nations Convention to Eliminate Racial Discrimination. The protocol will address the criminalization of racism and xenophobia.
Drumbl’s testimony involved the need to establish clear definitions and thresholds of what constitutes an act of racism, the importance of conjoining criminal remedies with civil damages, the need to focus on rehabilitation, the relationship between hate speech and massive human rights violations, and the special circumstances of children and juveniles brainwashed and recruited into hate groups.
“A fine balancing act is required to penalize racist speech, while also not handing states an opportunity to become more authoritarian by banning dissenting voices—or remedial/reparative programs—under the pretext of political hate,” said Drumbl.
Drumbl explained that the impetus behind the protocol is to enforce the norms of anti-racism embodied in the U.N. Convention on Racism. One of the underregulated areas is hate speech, and this is one of central challenges in the protocol—“how to preserve free speech while ensuring that speech remains constructive and neither belittling nor hurtful.”
This is a dynamic that international criminal law has addressed in the context of incitement to violence and exhorting persecution, Drumbl said.
“The question is whether the approaches of international criminal law that deal with massive acts of communal violence in armed conflict can help inform the regulation of life in societies that are not caught up in situations of armed conflict.”
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