Racism is “dangerous, abhorrent, ugly” and remains pervasive, says UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a message marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Established by the UN General Assembly in 1966, the event is observed on March 21, annually to remember 69 anti-apartheid protesters killed by South African police in 1960.
Among other objectives, it aims at fostering a global culture of tolerance, equality and eliminating racial prejudice.
Guterres said racism was evident in “pervasive discrimination suffered by people of African descent” and injustices against indigenous peoples and other ethnic minorities.
According to him, the world is still seeing menace in the “repugnant views of white supremacists and other extremist groups”.
“Last year, people around the globe took to the streets to protest the vicious global pandemic of racism.
“They recognised racism for what it is: Dangerous. Abhorrent. Ugly. And everywhere. Racism is a deeply rooted global evil.
“It transcends generations and contaminates societies. It perpetuates inequality, oppression and marginalisation.
“Wherever we see racism, we must condemn it without reservation, without hesitation, without qualification,” he said.
The UN chief said the theme of this year’s commemoration, “Youth standing up against racism”, underscored the importance of young people in the fight against racism.
He emphasised that attitude and behaviour of the youth would “dictate the future shape and look of our societies”.
“So, I appeal to young people everywhere, as well as educators and leaders, to teach the world that all people are born equal.
“Supremacy is an evil lie. Racism kills. Let us work together to rid the world of the pernicious evil of racism so all may live in a world of peace, dignity and opportunity,” he added.