The furor over this week's video of Chelsea fans' racist behavior in Paris has spread far and wide. Today, it reached as high as the United Nations.
In a statement to the Associated Press' Rob Harris, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said that the organization "strongly condemned" the fan's behavior, while pointing out that the incident is not an isolated one:
“As you know, in recent years we have been engaging in discussions with both FIFA and UEFA about exploring ways to enhance the effort to drum racism out of football after numerous examples of racist behaviour by football fans, especially inside stadiums — and the events in the Richelieu-Drouot Metro station in Paris show that much work remains to be done before racism is truly eradicated from sport, let alone from society at large.
“The fact that this particular incident was filmed and widely shown in the media has given rise to widespread and welcome condemnation by politicians, media and other commentators, and we also welcome the fact that the French authorities have launched an investigation into the incident, and the British police have said they will assist the French authorities in identifying the people involved and support them in any action they choose to take.
“It is important to recognize, however, that this was not an isolated incident. Similar acts of cruel and casual racism take place every single day, all across Europe, without arousing much indignation, because they are not caught on camera. As the victim himself told a French newspaper, he was not particularly surprised by what happened, as he “lives with racism” all the time. It is important to build on the outrage created by this snapshot of the ugly face of racism, to re-energize the effort to combat it in all its forms wherever it occurs.”
The UN statement comes on the same day that Chelsea announced that two additional people have been suspended by the club from home games at Stamford Bridge, and could earn lifetime bans following the club's investigation into the event. That brings the total number of fans suspended by Chelsea to five, after three were dealt the same punishment on Thursday.
All of this stems from a video recorded before Chelsea's Champions League Round of 16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Tuesday evening. After the match, The Guardian released the video, which showed a group of Chelsea fans repeatedly pushing a black man off a Metro train and chanting "we're racist, we're racist, and that's the way we like it."
Chelsea and UEFA both officially condemned the incident shortly afterward.