UN Human Rights Council 43 Urgent Debate

Thank you, Madam President,

We cannot ignore the depths of emotion triggered by the tragic death of George Floyd, nor the profound sadness, anger and injustices that continue to exist because of the continuing effects of racism. I would like to join others in expressing my deepest condolences to Mr Floyd’s family and friends.

However, for this Council to do justice to the subject we cannot ignore the scale of the challenge.

We have an opportunity today to reshape the debate on racism at the UN, in a way that brings us together, rather than dividing us further. Such opportunities are rare. Racism is a scourge that knows no borders, and is not limited to any one country. We all have work to do to tackle racism.

This urgent debate is a chance to forge a collaborative approach, as states, and with civil society, for uprooting the evils of violence and discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity or religious identity. We also need to recognise the huge contributions of people of different ethnicities that not only define but strengthen modern democracies, whilst committing ourselves to take further action to tackle inequalities, racist attitudes and barriers which still exist. It’s what our citizens are calling for.

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