Human Rights in the US: Manifestations of Racial, Ethnic and Religious Intolerance

ORIENTAL REVIEW initiates a series of articles based on the recently released Report on Human Rights in the USA, prepared by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the first chapter  the manifestations of racial, ethnic and religious intolerance in the United States are briefly reviewed.

In the USA it is noted a dangerous trend towards strengthening racist and xenophobic sentiments. The American law enforcement authorities register progressive increase in the number of extremist groups, significant number of crimes committed on the grounds of racial, religious and ethnic enmity.

According to data of the non-governmental organization Southern Poverty Law Center, currently in the USA there are over one thousand extremist groups, including neo-Nazi (the National Alliance, the National Socialist Movement, the National Socialist Vanguard and the NSDAP/AO), racist and separatist ones. Since 2000, the number of organizations uniting people on the grounds of hatred towards any group of the population has increased by 69 per cent.

The rigid constitutional frameworks seriously complicate the prosecution of the neo-Nazi radicals in the USA. If these persons nevertheless find themselves in the dock, then they are charged, as a rule, with other crimes.

According to the data received by the FBI during the Vigilant Eagle operation carried out in the beginning of 2009 the right-wing extremist groups have intensified their efforts in the country to recruit the supporters, to distribute threatening messages and to buy arms.

In general, according to the FBI’s data among the hate crimes committed in the USA more than 80 per cent are motivated by of the racial, religious and ethnic hatred. At the same time among the crimes committed on the grounds of the racial hatred nearly in 70 per cent of cases the Afro-Americans are the victims.

In the USA the manifestations of Islamophobia have become more frequent. According to the data announced at the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2011 the number of Islam adherents is less than 1 per cent of the US population, but they account for 14 per cent of all cases of the religious discrimination.

According to the estimates of the human rights activists, the USA already has already more than 30 organizations promoting the theories of the Islamic Conspiracy. According to the data of the Center for American Progress, they are financed by the private funds and some defense companies. The budget of these organizations, according to some estimates, amounts to about 50 million dollars.

The sociologists believe that 15-20 per cent of the US population belong to rabid xenophobes. Approximately so many Americans suppose that it is necessary to prohibit the followers of Islam from working in the government.

In 2010 the Anti-Defamation League registered more than 1,200 anti‑Semitic incidents in the country (133 of them were registered in New York alone). So, in November of 2011 the unidentified persons attacked the Midwood Brooklyn quarter, where the Orthodox Jews mainly resided. The evil-minded persons set fire to several cars and painted the walls of the houses and benches in the parks with the swastika and Ku Klux Klan emblems.

The anti-Semitic slogans were repeatedly used as well by the members of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

According to the Anti-Defamation League’s study issued in 2011, about 15 per cent of the Americans (nearly 35 million people) held the radical anti‑Semitic views.

Since the 1990s, in the USA there has been actively growing the anti‑government “patriotic” movement that once provoked a series of terrorist attacks in its territory, in particular, set off the explosions in Oklahoma City. According to the data of the organization Southern Poverty Law Center, for the first 3 years of Barack Obama’s presidency the number of “patriotic” groups increased by 75 per cent and in 2011 totaled more than 1,200.

To be continued… 

Amb. Konstantin DOLGOV is the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Commissioner for Human Rights and Superiority of Law.

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