U.N. Committee Says: This Speech Must Lead to a Criminal Prosecution of the Speaker

The German government decided not to prosecute the speaker based on this speech, but the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has recently stated the contrary, TBB v. Germany (Feb. 26, 2013). Here’s the speech that, according to the Committee, must lead to a criminal prosecution in countries that have ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. (I am pleased to say that the U.S. has not recognized the competence of the Committee to enforce the Convention, though most European countries have; the U.S. has also ratified subject to a specific reservation in favor of the freedom of speech.)

The German cultural journal Lettre International (2009 fall edition, number 86)3 published an interview with Mr. Thilo Sarrazin, the former Finance Senator of the Berlin Senate (from 2002 to April 2009, Social Democratic Party) and member of the Board of Directors of the German Central Bank (from May 2009), entitled “Class instead of Mass: from the Capital City of Social Services to the Metropolis of the Elite”. In this interview, Mr. Sarrazin expressed himself in a derogatory and discriminatory way about social “lower classes”, which are “not productive” and would have to “ disappear over time” in order to create a city of the “elite”. In this context, he stated, inter alia:

[...] The city has a productive circulation of people, who work and who are needed, be they part of the administration or of the ministries. Beside them, there is a number of people, about 20% of the population, who are economically not needed. They live off social welfare (Hartz IV) and transfer income; on a federal level this segment is only 8-10%. This part of the population needs to disappear over time. A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city, whose numbers have grown through erroneous policies, have no productive function, except for the fruit and vegetable trade, and other perspectives will probably not develop either [...].

[...] One must stop talking about “the” migrant. We must look at the different migrant groups. [...]

With the core group of people from Yugoslavia, however, one sees a more “Turkish” problem, the Turkish group and the Arabs slope dramatically [in terms of success]. Even in the third generation, a lot of them lack any reasonable knowledge of German. Many of them don’t even finish school and an even smaller part makes it to the college entrance exam [...].

[...] There is another problem: the lower the class, the higher the birth rate. The birth rates of the Arabs and Turks are two to three times higher than what corresponds to their overall part in the population. Large segments are neither willing nor able to integrate. The solution to this problem can only be to stop letting people in and whoever wants to get married, should do it abroad. Brides are constantly being supplied: the Turkish girl here is married to someone from Anatolia; the young Turkish man gets a bride from an Anatolian village. It’s even worse with the Arabs. My idea would be to generally prohibit influx, except for highly qualified individuals and not provide social welfare for immigrants anymore.

[...] It is a scandal when Turkish boys don’t listen to female teachers because of their culture. Integration is an accomplishment of those who integrate. I don’t have to accept anyone who doesn’t do anything. I don’t have to accept anyone who lives off the state and rejects this very state, who doesn’t make an effort to reasonably educate their children and constantly produces new little headscarf girls. That is true for 70% of the Turkish and for 90% of the Arab population in Berlin. Many of them don’t want any integration, they want to live according to their own rules. Furthermore, they encourage a collective mentality that is aggressive and ancestral [...].

[...] The Turks are conquering Germany just like the Kosovars conquered Kosovo: through a higher birth rate. I wouldn’t mind if they were East European Jews with about a 15% higher IQ than the one of Germans.

[...] If the Turks would integrate themselves so that they would have comparable success in the school system like other groups, the topic would become moot. [...] However, it does not happen like that. Berliners always say that they have a particularly high number of foreigners. This is wrong. The percentage of foreigners in Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne or Hamburg is much higher, but the foreigners there have a smaller percentage of Turks and Arabs and they are of more diverse origin.

[...] We have to completely restructure family policies: away with payments, above all to the lower class. I remember a report in the newspaper “Die Zeit” that stated that every Monday morning, the city cleaning services clean 20 tons of left over lamb from Turkish grill parties in the Tiergarten — this is not a satire. The Neukölln Mayor Buschkowsky spoke about an Arab woman who was having her sixth child to be able to get a bigger apartment through the social welfare law (Hartz IV). We have to say farewell to these structures. One has to assume that human ability is to some extent socially contingent and to some extent hereditary. The road we are following leads to a continuous decrease of the number of intelligent high performers due to demographic reasons. One can’t build a sustainable society that way…

[...] If 1.3 million Chinese are just as intelligent as Germans, but more industrious and in the foreseeable future better educated while we Germans take on ever more of a Turkish mentality, we’ll have a bigger problem [...]

Remind me: How are German citizens to make democratic decisions about immigration policy (either German policy or European Union policy) if people can’t argue that certain immigrant groups are bad for the country? How can they make democratic decisions about whether to support any proposed EU admission of Turkey? After all, admitting Turkey might well substantially increase Turkish immigration into Germany, so citizens who want to think about the admission question might reasonably want to consider the consequences of such increased immigration.

Indeed, how can German and European citizens even criticize restrictions on these arguments — such as the restriction that the U.N. Committee says the law must impose — if they can’t explain why they think that the arguments being restricted are correct? Or is the point that these decisions are forever supposed to be out of the hands of the citizens, with political debate left to the supervision of U.N. Committees?

Marko Milanovic (EJIL: Talk!) has more; thanks to Prof. Marty Lederman for the pointer. See also the dissenting opinion of Committee Member (and Georgetown law professor) Carlos Vazquez.