Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to welcome you all to the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Let me begin by expressing my deepest concerns over the alarming reports of violence against civilians, and in particular women and girls, in Ukraine. This while families continue to seek refuge and security in new locations. Our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine on this day.


Since the establishment of this international day, more than half a century ago, the elimination of racial discrimination has continued to elude us.

Around the world, we continue to see an increase in hate speech, intolerance, and racism, especially against minorities. This despite the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination reaching near universal ratification.

As a global community, our moral failure to eliminate racial discrimination is a failure against everything we stand for in the Hall of this Assembly.

It is a failure to register the mandates of the Charter as ‘we the people’.

And it is a failure to uphold the very principles, the very foundation, upon which this institution was built.

My friends, this must be changed.

This year, as we commemorate this important day, we are reminded of the extensive consequences of racial discrimination and its intersectionality.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated underlying conditions and laid bare the underlying, deep, and long-standing inequalities that disproportionately affect our societies. This includes those facing racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.

We have seen the marginalized and the most vulnerable lose the precious gains achieved in these past decades, especially in their social, economic, civil, and political lives.

Let me be clear: racial discrimination is an overt stereotyping and prejudice that arises from hate speech and hate propaganda.

Have we learned nothing from the needless suffering and loss of so many? The suffering of children as parents died at the expense of hate and violence, or the pain and injustice of losing loved ones because society only recognized them for their color.

We can and we must do better. We have a moral obligation to tackle racism in all its forms. Racism does not acknowledge the beauty of diversity. It gives birth to violence and strengthens inequalities.

Our commitment to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, as included in the Political Declaration adopted at the beginning of this session, is a key steps forward on the elimination of racial discrimination.

The Declaration is a clear guide to addressing discrimination against various groups of people – such as Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent, indigenous peoples, minorities, youth, women, and children.

The recent election by the General Assembly of members of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent, signifies yet another positive step to contribute to the ‘full political, economic and social inclusion of that population as equal citizens without discrimination of any kind.’

Going forward, I encourage national governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector to work together to fight racisms and promote the implementation of the Durban Declaration.

Let us continue to work together to eliminate racial discrimination.

I thank you.