New York, 20 March 2022 (TDI): Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has called for efforts to combat racism.

“Realizing the vision of a world free of racism and racial discrimination demands action every day, at every level, in every society,” he spoke during a General Assembly commemoration meeting on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

“Today and every day, let us unite around our common humanity and speak as one for equality, respect, justice, and dignity for all,” the UN chief added.

On the impact of racism: 

Racism continues to contaminate every society’s institutions, social structures, and everyday life. It is still a major contributor to persisting inequity. It continues to deprive individuals of their basic human rights. According to Guterres, it destabilizes society, weakens democracies, erodes government credibility, and stymies an inclusive and long-term recovery from Covid-19.

Racism is also a driving force in the coarsening of public speech, which normalizes hatred, denies dignity, and incites violence. He said that the links between racism and gender inequality are undeniable.

Societies affected by racism

There is no country that is immune to racism or hate. He noted that stigmatization, scapegoating, discrimination, and violence continue to be faced by Africans and people of African ancestry, Asians and people of Asian descent, minority populations, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, and many others.

“We all have a responsibility to engage in solidarity with movements for equality and human rights everywhere. And we must extend solidarity to everyone fleeing conflict or persecution without any discrimination based on race, religion, or ethnicity. We must speak out against hate speech, offline and online. We must defend civic space by protecting free expression and assembly, the bedrock of pluralist, peaceful and inclusive societies. We need a renewed social contract, based on rights and opportunities for all, to tackle poverty and exclusion, invest in education, and rebuild trust and social cohesion.”

According to Guterres, the member states must demonstrate more political determination to speed measures for racial fairness and equality in accordance with international human rights duties and commitments.

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