BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
H. E. MR. JULIAN R HUNTE ON
THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF RACISM AND
commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination comes just a few short weeks before
the people of South Africa celebrate their triumph, a decade
ago, over institutionalized racism and racial discrimination
- the abhorrent system of Apartheid. Democracy and freedom
now stand in place of gross and systematic violations of
human rights in South Africa, even as we remember those
who lost their lives at Sharpeville.
injustice of Sharpeville is the starting point from which
we launched the International Day for the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination, a Day that, since 1966, has served
to remind us of the horrific consequences that can result
from racism and racial discrimination. It also reminds us
that efforts to eliminate all forms of racism and racial
discrimination must be sustained.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,
we are asked to focus on migration and discrimination. This
is an apt and critical topic, at a time when the movement
of people within countries and across borders is more commonplace
than in any other period of human history. Even as migration
may make our societies more pluralistic, it exposes individuals
and groups to some of the worse forms of racism and racial
discrimination, and challenges us to be tolerant of ethnic,
religious, cultural and other differences.
racism and racial discrimination will allow us to celebrate
the richness of our diversity. It will allow us to reject
blind prejudice and hatred based on colour, race, national
or ethnic origin. It would allow us to reject racially motivated
injustices that deny so many their human rights and fundamental
freedoms, fuel civil conflict, endanger friendly relations
among states and threaten international peace and security.
Indeed, much of the conflicts that have challenged us, and
with which we continue to grapple in the twenty-first century
have roots in ethnicity, religion and cultural differences.
imperative to eliminate racism and racial discrimination
has underpinned our adoption, at the regional and international
levels, of covenants, conventions, declarations and numerous
resolutions and decisions, including the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racism and Racial Discrimination.
We have, indeed, made progress. Racism and racial discrimination
however are not problems we are able to resolve once and
for all, particularly as they pertain to the growing number
of migrants worldwide.
therefore, on this Day that the international community
has set aside for reflection on the evils of racism and
racial discrimination, reaffirm our commitment to the United
Nations Charter, which urges us to "practice tolerance
and live together in peace with one another". We must
live up to both the letter and the spirit of international
instruments, to ensure that human rights and fundamental
freedoms of every individual and every group in society,
including those in migratory flows, are upheld.
racism and racial discrimination is a cause for which many
gave their lives at Sharpeville. Many, including migrants,
continue to loose their lives as a result of racism and
racial discrimination. We must honour the memory of all
the victims and those still victims by support by supporting
efforts at the national, regional and international levels
to eliminate racism and racial discrimination. I urge all
to join me in renewing our commitment on this International
Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.