How can the world unite to fight racism?

What is Racism? Racism is prejudice, discrimination against a person who represents a less powerful ethnic group, on behalf of his colour, ethnicity or national origin. This can be seen as a physical or a mental abuse or a harassment. Furthermore humorously addressing a victim of racism and making fun of him, excluding him from social groups can also be a part of racism. This can affect not only an individual person but also to an entire race. According to the Natural School of Law humans have rights ascribed to them, that they possess merely by virtue of being human. Even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) highlights that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that we all have the right to a life free from discrimination and degrading treatment”. But in racism, one group of people become powerful and another group of people are deprived of their rights and made weak. This is contrary to the opinion of the Natural School of Law and the UDHR. <script async src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:block; text-align:center;" data-ad-layout="in-article" data-ad-format="fluid" data-ad-client="ca-pub-3413652713417404" data-ad-slot="5412041680"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script> We can see racism throughout the world in various formations. It was there in the past, and still remains as a burden to the society. Religious discrimination, racial discrimination and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender equality holds a major position in this. Most commonly minorities, migrants, indigenous people, African descents living in European countries, women and people with disabilities become victims of racism. This violates their rights to enjoy their life and freedom, isolates and oppresses them in society and makes them hide for the rest of their lives, bringing them psychologically unfavorable results and eventually this develops hatred for society in their minds. "I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" – Martin Luther King Jr. South Africa's apartheid, holocaust of Jews, denial of HIV/AIDS patients from the society are some of the examples for those discriminations in the history. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi were some of the great personalities who fought against racism. So the world altogether have taken necessary steps to combat racism in order to protect those victims' rights. But anyhow still there can be seen some kinds of discriminations around the world. The recent tragic death of George Floyd, a black American, who was murdered inhumanly by the American Police was a result of this Racism. Before that Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain sacrificed their lives becoming victims of discrimination. So it is clear that the work is far from finished. Therefore we all have a role to play to eliminate this. There are things we can do as individuals and things that can be done through our decision makers. How can we fight against racism Each country as well as the entire world use different methods to combat racism. It is directly done by Acts and Statutes and indirectly with the participation of people. This can be listed as followings. · By International Acts and Statutes to eliminate racism · By Acts and Statutes against racism in each country · By Social Media · With the help social groups and voluntary organizations · By awaking people about their rights · By punishing those who spread racism <script async src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:block; text-align:center;" data-ad-layout="in-article" data-ad-format="fluid" data-ad-client="ca-pub-3413652713417404" data-ad-slot="5412041680"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script> International Acts and Statutes to eliminate racism · International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) – 21 December 1965 This Convention essentially resolves to “to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, and to prevent and combat racist doctrines and practices in order to promote understanding between races and to build an international community free from all forms of racial segregation and racial discrimination.” The following articles of ICERD are noteworthy. Article 2.1 "States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and promoting understanding among all races…" Article 5 "In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law" This article ensures people's right to public health, medical care, social security and education, right to freedom of thought, conscience and expression, right to have protection by the state against violence etc. Article 6 This includes the right to a legal remedy and damages for injury suffered due to discrimination. · Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice –27 November 1978 This declaration adopted under the auspices of UNESCO is based on the principle that racism violates human worth and dignity. Specially Article 1.2 provides that, "All individuals and groups have the right to be different, to consider themselves as different and to be regarded as such. However, the diversity of life styles and the right to be different may not, in any circumstances, serve as a pretext for racial prejudice; they may not justify either in law or in fact any discriminatory practice whatsoever, nor provide a ground for the policy of apartheid, which is the extreme form of racism" · Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) – 18 December 1979 This convention ensures elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises. It helps to recognize enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. · Durban Declaration and Programme of Action 2001 (DDPA) This was adopted by consensus at the 2001 World Conference against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa. DDPA proposes concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Specially they have focused on eliminating discrimination against women and HIV/AIDS patients. · Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – 2006 The main purpose of this convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. It is the responsibility of the world to ensure that these conventions, which are agreed upon by the whole world are properly implemented. <script async src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:block; text-align:center;" data-ad-layout="in-article" data-ad-format="fluid" data-ad-client="ca-pub-3413652713417404" data-ad-slot="5412041680"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script> Acts and Statutes against racism in each country Besides the international statutes, most of the countries in the world have codified their own statutes and laws to combat all types of discrimination in their countries. India, Australia, United States, Bolivia, United Kingdom are some of such countries. In particular, it is clear from looking at section 153A of Indian Penal Code and Article 14 to 18 of Indian Constitution, that India has made great efforts to eliminate racism and ensure equality. Social Media Earlier agencies like UN was the only one to fight against discriminations around the world. But after the development of the technology, many social media platforms like as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram opened the way to common people to share their opinions on those discriminations. When George Floyd was brutally murdered in America, many people united to fight against racism through social media with the slogan 'black lives matter'. Though the incident took place in America, the entire world stood up for the victim's justice. Nowadays we can witness that people have started to speak up about their personal experiences and how racism can cripple a person’s mental health dramatically. Social media can make a huge impact in the society in ways we never thought possible. And now people are given the chance to report contents to the social media platforms which carry hatred speech, racial discrimination. So it is clear that social media is a best tool to unite the world beyond the borders to fight racism. Social groups and Voluntary organizations United Nations (UN), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) are some of the organizations who volunteer to help the discriminated people around the world. They have thousands of volunteers who help those victims by donations and legal advices. We can recognize their voices in international conferences, standing up for the victims as their strengths. So being a volunteer would help the world to unite to fight racism. Awaking people about their rights Because of illiteracy or ignorance of law, people sometimes do not even know that their rights have been violated. So it is important to be aware of our rights and make others aware about their rights. This can be easily done through the education system. Adding law as a subject in schools, having debates on human rights, organizing quiz competitions on human right laws would be a help to spread the knowledge through the society. Furthermore this can be done through social media platforms and newspapers too. Celebrating other cultures and their festivals, educating children about peace and reconciliation and practicing them to obey other cultures and religions, being a good example for the future generations will help to combat racism. Punishing those who spread racism A person who discriminates others people's dignity will not stop his actions until he is disliked by the society. It is therefore the responsibility of society to condemn those people and their actions to make them, people who value equality. Not only the society but also the government should be able to take action against them. Section 153A of Indian Penal Code has recognized, promoting disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language as an offence. Section 6 of ICERD includes the right to a legal remedy and damages for injury suffered due to discrimination. The purpose of these punishments is to prevent them from spreading racism for fear of punishment. Conclusion Although various measures have been taken from time to time to prevent racism, it has been difficult to carry out such work effectively due to the shortcomings in the law and social awareness, from the past. The main reason for this is, that the victims of racism are often affected by the majority powers. With globalization, the world today has got the ability to speak out for the human rights, even for a weak man in a small, rural state, who has become a victim of racism, as the world has become united. In this case social media plays a major role. Furthermore, the world has been able to unite in the fight against racism under the influence of international conventions, laws and international human rights tribunals. AUTHORED BY- Isuri Liyana Gamage Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

How can the world unite to fight racism?