Countries must boost their efforts to combat systematic discrimination, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today while urging States to continue to combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance.
In her remarks marking the closure of the International Year for People of African Descent, Ms. Migiro stressed that “the legacy of slavery still affects millions of people of African
descent around the world. In many cases, even when the old structures that
institutionalized racism are gone, the after-effects still cause damage.”
Ms. Migiro praised the progress made since the World Conference on Racism in
Durban, South Africa, was held 10 years ago, saying this should encourage
countries to continue to work on this issue.
“States have strengthened constitutional protections. They had adopted
legislation and action plans to fight racial discrimination.
“In some cases, for the first time, societies recognized the very existence of
people of African descent. This may be difficult to fathom, but just a few years
back, these people were all but invisible in the countries where they lives,
raised their children and contributed their labour.”
Ms. Migiro said she was pleased with advances made over the past year, pointing
to the General Assembly’s adoption in September of a consensus text against
racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
“Now is the time to look ahead and explore what more we can do,” she said.
“Change takes political will. It requires education and activism. And it depends
crucially on concerned individuals who join hands in common cause.
“Today we close the International Year for People of African Descent. But we
should also open a new chapter in our advocacy for their rights,” she added.