In the document made public last week, experts appointed by the Human Rights Council wrote that violence and attacks against people of Asian descent have reached an “alarming level” since the start of the outbreak. They also wrote that the reports indicate officials have taken insufficient action to mitigate the severity of the situation.
Based on the information provided to them, “U.S. authorities have utterly failed to take the steps required to detect, monitor, and prevent racist and xenophobic incidents,” the experts wrote. “One result of this state of impunity is that, many victims of such attacks are reportedly reluctant to seek justice.”
E. Tendayi Achiume — an author of the mandate who serves as special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance — told NBC Asian America that it’s difficult to draw a clear link between the “China virus” rhetoric, frequently used by President Donald Trump, and the hate attacks. But she said that’s not necessarily the point.
“I think it’s absolutely the case that if you have the head of government speaking about groups in ways that stigmatizes them and associates them with the virus, it creates an environment where violence is more permissible and attacks are more permissible,” she said. “It really does legitimize those kinds of acts.”
“The head of government is essentially legitimizing a climate where certain groups are wrongfully associated with a virus that affects everybody equally,” Achiume said. “It’s really a serious problem from a human rights perspective.”