The Kingston and Surbiton CLP fully support the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the 21st March.
As the UN states “Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Yet in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred.”
That latter point takes on significant importance when you consider that, following the vote on the EU referendum last year, the police reported a 41% increase in hate crimes, either racially or religiously motivated. In a remarkably similar experience a number of media outlets in the United States reported increases in such events following the election of Donald Trump as President.
The date itself – 21st March - is chosen as it is the day upon which, in 1960, police killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville South Africa (The Sharpeville Massacre). Six years later the UN General Secretary called the day of the 21st March for the elimination of racial discrimination.
In the 51 years since that call was made, there have been many advances. As the UN states “Since then, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries, and we have built an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification, yet still, in all regions, too many individuals, communities and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.”
In underlining that final point the events of the last 12 months are examples of a wider and worrying trend. Despite what has changed much work still remains to be done. The fact is that racial discrimination makes people live in fear and makes them feel like outsiders in society, leaving them economically poorer. That is why standing up to racism is so important.
Across Europe we have seen the rise of the far right with an increased vote in the recent Dutch General Election and far right candidates to the fore in elections due in France and Germany.
The Labour and Trades Union movement has a long and proud tradition of fighting racism and discrimination and will continue to do so. The EC of Kingston and Surbiton Labour Party supports the International Day for the Elimination of Racism 2017.
Kingston and Surbiton CLP Executive Committee