The focus of this year’s NISSMUN theme, eliminating hate messages and violent crimes, challenges us to take meaningful steps to fight commonplace discriminatory practices in our societies. We are all aware that many of man’s greatest atrocities have had racial underpinnings, but the collective toll inflicted by routine racism and religious hate messages are frequently overlooked. Indeed, the edifices of humanity’s most horrific crimes have often been built on the foundations of banal bigotry.
Despite decades of efforts to eradicate hate crimes, the virus of racism continues to infect human relations and human institutions in all parts of our globe. Today, the old strains of this disease, such as institutionalized discrimination, indirect disadvantage, racist violence, hate crimes, harassment and persecution, are compounded by new forms of discrimination, seemingly defying many of the gains we have made as a global community. The Internet is used for the propagation of racism and hate messages, the number of victims of human trafficking is growing, xenophobic arguments in political discourse are on the rise, and innocent people are victimized everyday all over the world because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, gender difference, or disability.
No one can be neutral in the fight against such intolerance. And we must not give up either the struggle against racism or hope for victory. We must work together to eradicate hate crimes, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Education and awareness-raising, effective national laws and policies, unbiased media: each of these can help foster a culture of tolerance and peace. With the joint commitment of all global citizens, governments of the world, non-governmental organizations and independent national human, we can and must overcome the war against hate messages and violent crimes against humanity.
We must not tolerate the creeping rot of routine discrimination generated by hate messages. Nor can we resign ourselves to it as a regrettable attribute of human nature, because we all are potential victims of one form of hate crimes or the other, and as such we must always remind ourselves that none of us is born to hate. Intolerance is taught and can be untaught. And education must be its vanguard. Education can foster awareness and cultivate tolerance. It should begin at home – where, after all, many racist attitudes have their origin – continue in school, and become integral to our public discourse in the society.
I call on all people, especially political, civic and religious leaders, to strongly condemn messages and ideas based on racial superiority or hatred as well as those that incite violent crimes and related intolerance. On this Day, let us acknowledge that intolerance remains a dangerous threat and resolve to tackle it through dialogue inspired by the proven ability of individuals to respect, protect and defend our rich diversity as one human family. And In this struggle against intolerance, the youth must simultaneously be teachers and students.