Hate crimes

U.N. Body Slaps Germany for Respecting Former Legislator's Free Speech Rights

Says treaties against "hate speech" trump free speech protections

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Menacing free speech, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has ruled that Germany violated international law by not prosecuting a former German legislator for statements he made in an interview with a cultural journal. The statements included comments critical of immigration and the alleged dependence on welfare of Turkish immigrants to Germany.

This disturbing ruling illustrates that international norms are at odds with American civil-liberties such as freedom of speech, making it inappropriate for U.S. courts to enforce them in lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute, as left-wing American legal scholars have urged the courts to do.

German prosecutors had concluded that the former legislator's remarks were protected by Germany's (limited) free-speech guarantees because, while offensive, they were part of a "discussion" of "problems of economic and social nature," and did not rise to the level of hate speech.