Gambian-Swedish MP happy with UN verdict on racial discrimination case

Gambian-Swedish MP happy with UN verdict on racial discrimination case
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By Omar Bah

A Swedish MP of Gambian ancestry, Malcom Jallow, has described as historic the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) ruling on racial discrimination case filed by him.

In 2018, Mr Jallow filed a case at the UN Committee alleging to be a victim of a violation by Denmark, a state party of articles 4(a), 4(c) and 6 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (the Convention).

The petition referred to an art exhibition sponsored by the Danish People’s Party held in the Danish Parliament building, as well as in a private art gallery in Copenhagen in 2014.

The committee in a landmark ruling ordered Denmark to offer a public apology and compensate Mr Jallow.

Reacting to the ruling for the first time in a Standard exclusive, Malcom Jallow said the ruling is a historic and landmark decision by the UN, demonstrating the need to protect, respect and uphold the rights of black people in Denmark and the rest of Europe.

“It is a call for Denmark and the rest of Europe to come to grips with their own institutional racism and to ensure that existing legislation is applied in an effective manner and with due regard to the requirements of the Conventions they are parties to,” Jallow added.

He said the only common European experience among many, if not all people of African descent, is “our exposure to racism and systemic discrimination, regardless of country, socioeconomic conditions, gender, age, or level of education”.

“The fact that a political party in a so called civilised and democratic country can entertain and organise a racist exhibition at the national parliamentary building with photos of me in chains and described as a runaway n****er slave and simply be described as freedom of expression by the Danish state, is symptomatic and speak to the outstanding and historical structures of injustice we continue to endure as people of African descent in Europe,” he argued.

He said central to any fight for equality is the call for justice in terms of accountability for the hate crimes, discrimination and inequality black people continue to experience.

“I mean justice in terms of equal access to rights, freedoms and opportunities now and in the future. It is not enough having a national action plan against racism. Europe must learn to move from words to action and time is of the essence. There is a particular and urgent need to recognise the grave forms of racism and racial discrimination to which people of African descent continue to be exposed and stop using freedom of expression as a pretext to normalise and continue to spread racism and incitement to hatred,” he stated.

He said freedom of expression is fundamental in “any democracy but it does not include hate speech; it does not include racism and it does not include incitement to racial hatred. This is exactly what this landmark UN decision seeks to clarify.  Freedom of expression should not be used as a pretext to spread racism and incitement to hatred against black people and other minorities”.

“I hope that the UN verdict Will serve to encourage Denmark and other European countries to take a firm stand against racism, hatred and intolerance when and wherever they arise, to protect those targeted and to promote a model of society that embraces diversity and respects human dignity. Black people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and our human rights upheld, as anything else will be unacceptable by all standards,” he noted.

He said African governments through members of the diplomatic core in Europe (Ambassadors) from the African continent must show more resolve in addressing the challenges and indignities that people of African descent continue to endure.

“We must never accept being treated as second class residents in so-called first-class democracies!

It is high time that this situation of people of African Descent in Europe receives proper recognition,” he concluded.

Source standard newspaper