The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an annual reminder to us all to do more to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes, said the Commissioner, and highlighted how equality bodies and national human rights institutions play an important role in combating such discrimination. The Commissioner also underlined the importance of data collection on hate crimes to understand causes, and design and implement targeted action to bring about real change.
The High Commissioner stated that people of African descent continue to be victims of racist hate crimes and racism in all areas of life, and that anti-Semitism continues to rear its ugly head from the US to Europe to the Middle East and beyond. He also pointed to the evident dangers of demonising particular groups across the world, such as xenophobic riots and violence targeting immigrants have recently flared again in South Africa.
The Commissioner acknowledged that we face a world where discriminatory practices are still widespread, but that equality bodies and national human rights institutions in many countries work to prevent and combat such discrimination. "Progress here needs to continue, including through affirmative action, training and representation of ethnic and racial minorities," said the Commissioner.
In his statement, the High Commissioner also refereed to statistical findings on hate crimes:
"These figures paint a partial picture of the situation in the respective countries but there are many States that do not collect data on racist hate crimes, leaving the true extent of the problem obscured. Tackling racism and xenophobia begins with understanding the scope of the problem. I encourage States to do more to collect disaggregated data, including on the basis of race and ethnicity, so they can monitor trends, understand causes and design and implement targeted action to bring about real change," said the High Commissioner