UN Pledged To Recommit Efforts To Combat Worldwide Racism

In Summary

The United Nations General Assembly set goals and actions to rid the stain of worldwide racism.  

The United Nations has recognized racism as a worldwide plague. Its General Assembly aims to combat it by redoubling efforts from the 2001 anti-racism conference and holding an anniversary meeting.  

The focal point in the meeting was reparations and racial justice for people with African heritage. The assembly also noted the effects of slavery, colonialism and genocide on people of African descent, stating they should receive “adequate reparation or satisfaction” through national institutions.  

“Millions of the descendants of Africans who were sold into slavery remain trapped in lives of underdevelopment, disadvantage, discrimination and poverty,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a video.  

Related: Methodist University Suspends Sorority Following ‘Racist’ Presentation  

The 2001 anti-racism conference —Durban I — also covered several controversial issues, such as rectifying the transatlantic slavery and the second-class citizen issue in Palestine-Israel. The United States and Israel withdrew from the conference over objections to a draft document equating Zionism with racism.   

In the video, Ramaphosa urged the U.N. to strongly consider reparations, calling slavery “one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind and a crime of unparalleled barbarity.”  

Félix Tshisekedi, president of Congo, said reparations should reflect more than historical wrongdoings. 

“The scars of racial inequality, subordination and discrimination, which were built under slavery, apartheid and colonialism,” Tshisekedi said.  

Related: Crowdfunding Campaigns Accept ‘Reparations’ on Local Level to Benefit Black People  

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a U.N. ambassador whose country was absent from the assembly, said ceasing racism is a major focus for her and the administration of United States. She said the U.S. would continue working on combating racism in a “more inclusive” setting. 

In all, 19 countries did not attend the assembly.  

“We, as a global community, have not done enough to tackle the pervasiveness of racism, racial discrimination, intolerance and xenophobia,” said assembly President Abdulla Shahid.  

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