Soft Authority Against Hard Cases of Racially Discriminating Speech: Why the CERD Committee Needs a Margin of Appreciation Doctrine

18 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2016

See all articles by Matthias Goldmann

Matthias Goldmann

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law; Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE; Goethe University Frankfurt - Cluster of Excellence Normative Orders; Goethe University Frankfurt

Mona Sonnen

Heidelberg University

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

Faced with an increasing backlash against immigrants in many developed states, this article revisits the practice of the Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) with respect to racially discriminating speech. Cases like the decision concerning Thilo Sarrazin reveal an impoverished style of reasoning that shows little sensitivity for the actual context of the decision. The CERD Committee seems insufficiently aware of the authority it exercises through its Communications, whose real, albeit not legal, effects resemble those of judgments of international courts. The CERD Committee should therefore consider applying standards of reasoning similar to those of international courts in order to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of its Communications. They would particularly benefit from a margin of appreciation doctrine that leaves domestic authorities greater leeway in developing context-sensitive strategies to counter the threat of anti-migrant popular sentiment, including, but not limited to, criminal proceedings.

Keywords: Hate Speech, Refugees, Migration, Racial Discrimination, Margin of Appreciation, CERD, Free Speech

Suggested Citation

Goldmann, Matthias and Sonnen, Mona, Soft Authority Against Hard Cases of Racially Discriminating Speech: Why the CERD Committee Needs a Margin of Appreciation Doctrine (November 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2713848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2713848

Matthias Goldmann (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law ( email )

Im Neuenheimer Feld 535
69120 Heidelberg, 69120
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.mpil.de/ww/en/pub/organization/scientific_staff/mgoldman.cfm

Goethe University Frankfurt - Research Center SAFE

House of Finance
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.safe-frankfurt.de

Goethe University Frankfurt - Cluster of Excellence Normative Orders ( email )

Germany

Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
HoF H4
Frankfurt, 60629
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.jura.uni-frankfurt.de/62222403/Goldmann

Mona Sonnen

Heidelberg University ( email )

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