Will white supremacist groups be banned by UN?

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Contrary to Islamic state of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and other banned outfits, the United Nations (UN) has never proscribed any outfits indulged in promoting white supremacy despite their growing terror activities causing massive bloodshed globally. It seems chillingly weird but as matter of fact it is true.

Why did UN turn a blind eye towards them? How have these extremist groups, killing people in the name of race, religion, nationalism, colour, been working with impunity? How have these fascist factions managed to remain out of sight of various international organisations including the UN? Who are their kingpins and godfathers? Who finances these racist organisations? What are the future targets of these supremacist groups? How much do they pose a threat to regional and global peace, like Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) did? Are there any global coordinated efforts to contain them? Like these there are plenty of questions international community has been asking.

Fortunately the time has arrived to do a reality check responding to these queries. The heart-wrenching tragedy of Christchurch terror attack has woken up world from its deep slumber. A number of countries have been putting their heads together to zero in on ideology and functionality of far-right groups in a bid to track down their origins and endemic spread.

It appears that as international pressure intensifies, UN may be taking stock of situation to mend its way. Being cognizant of situation, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his views on rise of anti-Muslim hatred, anti-Semitism and bigotry during his visit to a New York Islamic Center.

Though he did not identify threat of white supremacy but citied that “hate speech is spreading like wildfire.” This sounds to be covert admission that may lead to UN policy maker to treat such groups like ISIL and other defunct outfits.

After Christchurch terror attack killing 50 Muslim worshipers, it has happened first time that UN is drafting an action plan to support efforts to protect religious sites around the world.

White supremacists have penetrated different parts of the world. Their organisations remained active with different names and are still very active in their spheres.

In New Zealand, they are Right Wing Resistance and New Zealand National Front. Australia has Antipodean Resistance, Australians Against Further Immigration, Australia First Party, Australian Nationalist Movement, Blood & Honour, Creativity Alliance, Hammerskin Nation, National Action (Australia), National Socialist Party of Australia, Patriotic Youth League, Reclaim Australia, True Blue Crew, United Patriots Front.

United States (US) recognises them as American Renaissance, American Freedom Party, American Nazi Party, Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, Aryan Nations, Asatru Folk Assembly, Council of Conservative Citizens, RAHOWA, EURO, Ku Klux Klan, National Alliance, National Association for the Advancement of White People, NAACP, Nationalist Movement, Occidental Quarterly, The Order, or Brüder Schweigen (“Silent Brotherhood”), Pacifica Forum, Phineas Priesthood, Volksfront, White America, Inc., White Aryan Resistance.

Aryan Guard, Canadian Heritage Alliance, National Socialist Party of Canada, Tri-City Skins, Western Canada for Us, Western Guard Party, The Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan have base in Canada.

Their existence in Germany is glaring. They are known as National Democratic Party of Germany, German People’s Union, German League for People and Homeland, The Republicans, German Heathen’s Front, All-Germanic Heathen’s Front, Gesinnungsgemeinschaft der Neuen Front, National Offensive, German Alternative, Free German Workers’ Party, Action Front of National Socialists/National Activists, (Aktionsfront Nationaler Sozialisten/Nationale Aktivisten; Nationalist Front, The Junge Front (Young Front), Viking Youth, Socialist Reich Party of Germany, German Reich Party and German Conservative Party – German Right Party. Like them, their number is spiking in various parts of world.

As Taliban originated Afghanistan, ISIL took birth in Iraq, white supremacy has bred from America. Right-wing extremism in the United States appears to be growing. The October 27, 2018, Pittsburgh synagogue shooting by Robert Bowers, and the arrest a day earlier of Cesar Sayoc who sent pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, appear to be the most recent manifestations of this trend.

Two decades earlier, Timothy McVeigh orchestrated the deadliest right-wing attack in recent U.S. history, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680 in Oklahoma City. Michael Fortier, a close friend of McVeigh’s, remarked that “we both believed that the United Nations was actively trying to form a one-world government, disarm the American public, take away our weapons.” Between 2007 and 2017 attacks occurred in virtually every state in the United States, from California to Texas, Florida, Virginia, and New York.

Terrorist attacks by right-wing extremists in the United States have increased. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of such attacks was five or less per year. They then rose to 14 in 2012; continued at a similar level between 2012 and 2016, with a mean of 11 attacks and a median of 13 attacks; and then jumped to 31 in 2017.7 FBI arrests of right-wing extremists also increased in 2018.

Most of the far-right attacks involved firearms or incendiary devices (the latter which included setting fire to targets like mosques). These types of weapons are simple to acquire, easy to use, and require little preparation—especially for lone actors. The perpetrators attacked religious figures and institutions, primarily Muslim or Jewish targets (31 percent); private citizens and property (29 percent); and U.S. or foreign government targets in the United States, such as the Forsyth County Courthouse in Georgia or the Mexican consulate in Austin, Texas (14 percent).

Like the United States, Europe faces a growing threat from extreme right-wing groups. Extreme right-wing attacks have significantly increased—from 0 in 2012 to 9 in 2013; 21 in 2016; and 30 in 2017. 32 European Union Security Commissioner Sir Julian King expressed serious concern about the “growing menace” of right-wing extremism: “I’d just like to pause for one moment on this. I’m not aware of a single EU member state that is not affected in some way by right-wing violent extremism.” In 2011, 77 died in a series of attacks by a lone right-wing extremist in Oslo and the island of Utoya. Violent groups include the Identitäre Bewegung Deutschland (IBD, Identitarian Movement Germany) and supporters of the Reich Citizen ideology in Germany; the Generace Identity (Generation of Identity) movement and the Pro-Vlast movement in the Czech Republic; Soldiers of Odin in Belgium; and the Blood & Honour organisation in Portugal.

In the UK, extreme right-wing groups have not presented a significant terrorism threat until recently, partly in response to rising domestic concerns about refugees and asylum-seekers from countries like Syria and Afghanistan. In 2016 and 2017, the UK banned the far-right groups National Action, Scottish Dawn, and National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action under the Terrorism Act 2000. 36 There also have been several right-wing attacks in the UK. Examples include the June 2017 killing of one individual by Darren Osborne at the Finsbury Park Mosque, and the June 2016 assassination of UK Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox by Thomas Mair. Some extreme right-wing individuals and groups pose a particular threat because they have stockpiled firearms and developed the capability to build improvised explosive devices. 37 As the UK government concluded in 2018, “We assess the threat from extreme right-wing terrorism is growing.” 38

The threat from extreme right-wing groups and individuals is likely more acute in the UK than anywhere else in Europe. As the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation concluded, “Five foiled, failed or completed terrorist attacks attributed to rightwing extremists (RWE) were reported for 2017: all of them by the UK.” 39 In 2017 and early 2018, the UK arrested 27 individuals on suspicion of being a member of National Action, 15 of whom were charged with terrorism offenses. In addition, the British domestic intelligence agency, MI5, and the police disrupted nearly a half-dozen right-wing terrorist plots in the UK in the first half of 2018.

France also has experienced isolated acts of far-right extremism. In June 2018, for example, French authorities arrested 10 suspected far-right extremists—including a retired police officer and a retired soldier—from the group Action des Forces Opérationnelles who allegedly were plotting to attack Muslims. They had stockpiled rifles, handguns, homemade grenades, and ammunition around Paris, the Mediterranean island of Corsica, and the western Charentes-Maritimes region. 41 Unlike the Finsbury Park attack in the UK, the Action des Forces Opérationnelles plotters claimed they were “only” planning to attack jihadists, radical preachers, and “radicalised individuals”—yet their definition of “radicalised” individuals included women wearing veils.

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