Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

20 March 2021

NEW YORK, 20 March 2021 – “Even as the world prepares to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, acts of bigotry, hatred and racism continue to plague societies around the world.

“From attacks against people of Asian descent, to violence against Black men and women, to the profiling of Muslims and the oppression of indigenous peoples – these incidents are a manifestation of the entrenched systemic inequalities and biases that are taught from one generation to the next.

“Children and young people have the unique power to break this chain of hatred. And they have been speaking up – loudly, clearly and consistently – to demand an end to racism, intolerance and inequality.

“At UNICEF, we believe that every child deserves to grow up free from discrimination and racism.

“We also believe that change begins from within, and we have been taking an inward look to make UNICEF the most inclusive and diverse organization it can possibly be.

“As part of our ongoing work to improve our organizational culture, last June we launched an internal Task Team on Anti-Racism and Discrimination. The task team initially focused on anti-black racism, then its work was gradually expanded to address racial and ethnic discrimination, then all forms of discrimination. The objective is to address discrimination in UNICEF and provide an open space for all our personnel to make their voices heard. The work of the task force can help inform how we deliver results for children in a way that is free of racism and discrimination. 

“On this International Day against Racism, UNICEF proudly stands with children and young people as they fight racism, and firmly renews its commitment to ending all forms of discrimination within its own ranks.

“In the words of the United Nations Secretary-General, let us work together to rid the world of the pernicious evil of racism so all may live in a world of peace, dignity and opportunity.”

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