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The Minister of Culture, Hon. Olivia Babsy Grange, is appealing for a global agenda to end racial discrimination as nations observed International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.
Minister Grange stated, “If the turbulences and confrontations today are any indication of where we are, we are far from that goal of eliminating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.
According to the Minister, Africans were among the most “brutally devalued [and] vilified on the basis of their race”, through the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
She further stated that the entrenchment of racism and racial discrimination is as a result of the “horrible atrocity” of capturing, trafficking and transplanting persons into slavery on plantations in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Americas.
In that regard, the Minister said “there is need for a more dynamic and restorative agenda for the elimination of racial discrimination.”
Jamaica’s intention to work more closely with the United Nations (UN) Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and all UN systems in furtherance of the goal to eliminate racial discrimination, was also outlined.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21.
The South African High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Lumka Yengeni, chimed in on the Minister Grange’s remarks and said “this day in our history is a day that is written in blood”.
She indicated that in her country, March is declared as human rights month and is used “to honour those who fought and laid their lives for all of us in South Africa to be liberated today.”
Minister Grange’s remarks were read at a press conference at the South African High Commission on Hilcrest Avenue in Kingston.