I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
I am pleased to address the General Assembly as we commemorate the International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
It serves as a reminder that issues related to racism and xenophobia persist in all corners of the world, and that it is the shared duty of all members of this Assembly to promote and protect human rights, including by combatting discrimination and violence against persons on the basis of their race. Racism is a global scourge. No country or region is free from this phenomenon and we have an obligation to act to eliminate it.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and disproportionately affected persons in vulnerable situations. The EU supports the effective implementation of the Secretary-General’s Call to Action on Human Rights as well as his leadership in placing human rights at the core of the response to the pandemic. The existence of racial discrimination hampers the full and effective enjoyment of human rights, renders democracy fragile and creates barriers to full and effective participation of all persons in political and public life.
In the European Union, discrimination on grounds of racial and ethnic origin is prohibited and we take action to eliminate all forms of racism and racial discrimination, bearing in mind the European Union motto of ‘United in diversity’. In this regard, today, the first EU Anti-racism Summit is taking place, a kick-off moment for the implementation of the EU Anti-racism Action Plan announced last September.
The EU will continue to strongly oppose all forms of discrimination including on grounds of sex, race, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, disability, age, sexual orientation, and gender identity. We reject all forms of incitement to violence or hatred, and hate speech, online and offline.
Racism in all its forms must be tackled in a comprehensive way by taking effective measures at the national, regional and international level, in particular through the ratification and implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which remains the universal foundation for efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate racism.