New York, US (PANA) - UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro on Tuesday urged States to continue to combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance, in order to promote harmony and peaceful co-existence.
In her remarks marking the closure of the International Year for People of African descent,
in New York, 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," she noted.
She, however, praised the progress made since the World Conference on Racism in
Durban, South Africa, which was held 10 years ago, saying that this should encourage
countries to continue to work on this issue.
Migiro also stated that States had strengthened constitutional protections and 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 liveds, raised their children
and contributed their labour," she said.
The deputy UN scribe also said she was pleased with advances made over the past
year, pointing to the UN 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.
Migiro, however, 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.
-0- PANA AA/MA 6Dec2011