United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday said that he is deeply alarmed by the surge of intolerance and "hate-driven violence" across the world, calling on the international community to speak out against "anti-Muslim bigotry" and other forms of hate.
Ban, addressing a General Assembly meeting to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination here yesterday, said racial profiling and violence against communities is on the rise and blamed "extreme right-wing" political parties for fomenting divisiveness and dangerous myths.
"I am deeply alarmed by a surge of intolerance, racist views and hate-driven violence around the world. Economic hardship and political opportunism are triggering increased hostility towards minorities. This is being manifested most directly in anti-refugee, anti-migrant and, in particular, anti-Muslim bigotry, attacks and violence," he said.
The UN Chief also voiced concern over extreme right-wing political parties fomenting divisiveness and dangerous myths.
"Even once-centrist parties have hardened their views; once-moderate countries are seeing xenophobia rise sharply; and once-sober voices have exploited fears in a dangerous echo of the darkest chapters of the last century. All of this increases the risk of societal fracture, instability and conflict," he said.
Emphasising the need to stand up for rights and dignity for all "in these tumultuous times", Ban said the international community must speak out against "anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim bigotry and other forms of hate."
"An assault on one minority community is an attack on all."
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21, the anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre of peaceful demonstrators in South Africa in 1960.
"I draw encouragement by how far we have come since that tragedy. But we have much distance still to travel in our work for equality for all," the UN chief said.
For this year's observance, the global community is commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
Adopted by consensus at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, these texts remain the most comprehensive framework for international, regional and national actions against racism.
"The international community acknowledged in Durban that no country could claim to be free of racism. This remains the case today," Ban said, noting that the world has "undoubtedly come a long way" in ensuring equal rights and non-discrimination.
He recalled that Member States have adopted or amended legislation to guard against racial discrimination.
An International Decade for People of African Descent was proclaimed by the General Assembly and will continue through the year 2024.
Civil society organisations worldwide working on racism are increasingly active and vocal.
Fifteen years after the landmark document to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia was adopted in Durban, Ban said he is concerned that the political will that existed then is under threat.
"The collective determination that enabled such a far-reaching agreement is being undermined by political expediency," Ban added.