“General references to Muslims”

Concerning A.W.R.A.P. (represented by counsel, the Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination) vs Denmark for violation of articles 2, 4 and 6 of CERD.

In 1997, the Danish Parliament adopted a bill abolishing the right of parents to corporally punish their children. The Danish Peoples Party voted against the bill.  In 2005, the Government introduced a bill amending the Danish Integration Act by introducing the requirement for immigrants to sign “declarations of integration”.  Thus the immigrants would have to sign a declaration stating that they will respect the fundamental values of Danish society, including observance of the rules of the Danish Criminal Code such as the prohibition of corporal punishment of their children. The Danish Peoples Party supported the amendment bill.

A politician of the Socialist Peoples’ Party thus asked members of the Danish People’s Party how it could support a bill demanding that all aliens sign a declaration saying, inter alia, that “corporal punishment of my children is prohibited” when the same party opposed the ban on corporal punishment of children. Mr. Søren Krarup, member of the National Parliament for the Danish Peoples Party responded with discriminatory statements such as- “The problem is that the country unfortunately has been flooded with Muslim so-called culture, and according to Islam it is the right of the male to beat his children and wife yellow and blue. That form of violence which they are practising is of sadistic and brutal character….”.

DACoRD thus filed a complaint on behalf of the petitioner against Mr. Krarup for violation of the Danish Penal Code which prohibits racial statements. The police rejected the complaint and the regional public prosecutor upheld this negative decision. In his rejection, he referred to the extended freedom of speech which exists for politicians in general and Members of Parliament in particular. Thus a complaint was sent to CERD.

The Committee takes note of the offensive nature of the statements complained of and recalls that freedom of speech carries with it both duties and responsibilities. However,  it considers that the general references to Muslims, do not single out a particular group of persons. It, therefore, concludes that the petition falls outside the scope of the Convention and declares it inadmissible.

17. December 2019

CERD 37/2006
  • Decision: 8. August 2007
  • Comm: Race