UN panel decries rise of racist crimes in UK after EU vote

A U.N. panel has criticized "anti-immigrant and xenophobic rhetoric" that some British political figures used to foment prejudices ahead of the country's vote to leave the European Union.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination expressed concerns about a "sharp increase in racist hate crimes," particularly in England, Wales and Northern Ireland before and after the June 23 referendum.

Speaking Friday to the AP, President Anastasia Crickley said the committee urged British authorities to reach out to affected groups and take measures to increase reporting of hate crimes so people will "trust in the police and justice system."

The committee regularly reviews state parties to a convention aimed to end racial discrimination. Greece, Paraguay, South Africa, Lebanon, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were also considered in its latest session.