UN chief calls for condemnation of racism

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People around the world are being urged to strongly condemn racism.

The call has come from the UN Secretary-General in a message to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial discrimination observed on 21st March each year.

The day was established after police in South Africa killed 69 people during a peaceful protest against apartheid pass laws in Sharpeville on 21st March 1960.

The Secretary-General's message was delivered by UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson at a meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the day on Friday.

"I call on people, especially political, civic, religious leaders to strongly condemn messages and ideas based on racism, racial superiority or hatred, as well as those that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. On this day let us acknowledge that racial discrimination remains a dangerous threat and resolve to tackle it through dialogue, inspired by the proven ability of individuals to respect, protect and defend our rich diversity as one human family."

In his message, the UN Secretary-General noted that this year the world commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for the first time following the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

He said this "sad reality is also a reminder of his courageous struggle against apartheid and his inspiring victory over the racist forces that had imprisoned him for over 27 years".

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations

Duration: 1’38″

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