Minister Grange calls for dynamic agenda to end racial discrimination
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange.

KINGSTON, Jamaica – A call is being made for a more dynamic agenda to end racial discrimination globally.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, made the call on Tuesday, which was observed as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Grange noted that, “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”.

Her remarks were delivered by National Council on Reparation Chair, Laleta Davis, during a press conference at the South African High Commission on Hilcrest Avenue in Kingston.

Grange said Africans were among the most “brutally devalued [and] vilified on the basis of their race”, through the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

She noted that the “horrible atrocity” of capturing, trafficking and transplanting persons into slavery on plantations in Jamaica, the Caribbean and the Americas, has been responsible for the entrenchment of racism and racial discrimination.

The minister said despite global efforts over the years to rectify these issues, “countless human beings continue, to the present day, to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

“There is need for a more dynamic [proactive] and restorative agenda for the elimination of racial discrimination,” she maintained.

Consequently, Grange again heralded Jamaica’s call for immediate reparations.

“Today, Jamaica stands resolute that the unfair and unfortunate racial profiling and harassment of our ancestors must be treated with. They need to repair the damage occasioned by the enslavement and colonialism of our people. We affirm reparations now,” she declared.

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.

Historically, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21.

On this day in 1960, police opened fire on a group of peaceful demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, who were protesting against the apartheid pass laws. That incident resulted in 69 people being killed and 180 injured.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Day in 1966 and called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

South African High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Lumka Yengeni, 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.”

Remarks were also delivered by Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor, Nelson Mandela University, Dr Muki Moeng and Convocation President, Walter Sisulu University, South Africa, Dr Lunga Mantashe.

The press conference was moderated by Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) President, Steven Golding.

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