U.N. Committee Calls on 'U.S. Government' to Unequivocally Reject Racist Hate

Image: Trump speaks at a rally in Phoenix
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on Aug. 22.Rick Scuteri / AP

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By Phil Helsel

A United Nations committee has called on the U.S. government "to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes" following a white-nationalist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The statement from the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued Wednesday did not name President Donald Trump, but it is the president himself who has been criticized more than anyone else for what many said were inappropriate responsesto the racism on display at the rally.

"The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has called on the Government of the United States of America, as well as high-level politicians and public officials, to unequivocally and unconditionally reject and condemn racist hate speech and crimes in Charlottesville and throughout the country," the committee said in a statement.

"There should be no place in the world for racist white supremacist ideas or any similar ideologies that reject the core human rights principles of human dignity and equality,” the committee, which is made up of human rights experts, wrote.

Heather Heyer, 32, was killed after a car allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio rammed into a group of counter-protesters amid a day of clashes between white nationalists and anti-racist groups in Charlottesville on Aug. 12.

Fields, 20, who was seen marching with the white nationalists earlier in the day, was eventually arrested and is charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

Related: Confederate Statues Covered in Black in Mourning for Heather Heyer

The U.N. committee referenced the car ramming incident and called on the United States "to address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations."

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in the title of their news release said the committee was criticizing a U.S. "failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events."

The Justice Department has opened a probe into the car ramming incident, which some lawmakers have called an act of domestic terrorism.

Trump denounced racism and bigotry the day of the violence in Charlottesville, but faced a backlash for failing to name white supremacists and condemning "this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides."

The U.N. committee issued its statement a day after Trump at a campaign-style rally in Phoenix defended his initial response and said he forcefully condemned bigotry and hatred. Trump in Phoenix read part of his initial statement but left out the words "on many sides."

Related: Trump Says ‘Two Sides’ Share Blame for Charlottesville Rally Violence

Trump later named hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan in condemning racism as evil, but a day later doubled down on his initial response, suggesting that there were good people on both sides and that counter-protesters were also to blame for the violence in Charlottesville and that "there are two sides to a story."

Trump on Twitter said Wednesday: "Last night in Phoenix I read the things from my statements on Charlottesville that the Fake News Media didn't cover fairly. People got it!"

Also Wednesday, the Central Conference of American Rabbis said they will not participate in organizing a traditional High Holy Days conference call with the president of the United States over their opposition to Trump's response.

"We have concluded that President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year," the group said in a statement.

The conference, which says it is the oldest and largest rabbinical organization in North America, said: "The President's words have given succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism, and xenophobia."

"Responsibility for the violence that occurred in Charlottesville, including the death of Heather Heyer, does not lie with many sides but with one side: the Nazis, alt-right and white supremacists who brought their hate to a peaceful community. They must be roundly condemned at all levels," the CCAR said.