Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at ECOSOC Special Meeting Reimagining Equality: Eliminating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination for All in the Decade of Action for the SDGs
18 February 2021
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. The holding of this special meeting by ECOSOC is therefore very timely, and will help to garner stronger consensus and promote the complete elimination of all forms of racism. China appreciates your efforts as President of ECOSOC to this end.
Racism threatens international peace, stability and development and is a common enemy of all humankind. Eliminating all forms of racism has always been the goal of the international community. Since the Durban Conference in 2001, progress has been made in the international efforts to counter racism, but the world is still plagued by frequent incidents of inciting racism and provoking religious hatred, as well as growing xenophobia and discrimination. In some western countries, the tragedies of police violence against people of African-decent and other ethnic minorities occur from time to time, which are mostly deplorable. The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and many experts of the UN special mechanisms on human rights have condemned such violence, and called on the countries concerned to face up to the widespread inequality and take measures to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Ethnic minorities have long suffered unfair treatment in medical care, education and employment. This systematic discrimination is getting even worse under COVID-19. Ethnic minorities suffer disproportionally higher infection and mortality rates, and have relatively low vaccination rates. Women of ethnic minorities also face double discrimination due to their gender and race. There is a long way to go to eliminate racism.
China supports the active role of the United Nations in combating racism as well as the high-level commemorative meeting of the General Assembly to be held in September. To eliminate racism, both symptoms and root causes must be addressed. First, speed up the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, tackle poverty, employment and education problems and ensure equal opportunities so as to address the sources of conflicts and inequalities. Second, have “zero tolerance” for all kinds of racism by showing political will and earnestly implementing the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. Third, promote dialogue among different civilizations, resolve differences and enhance understanding. Fourth, put an end to discriminatory speech and pandemic-related stigmatization. In this respect, political figures and news media should shoulder greater social responsibilities.
China will continue to work with the international community to promote the sustainable development of different races and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Thank you, Mr. President.