'No continent spared' from racism
From: Agence France-Presse
From correspondents in Geneva
March 18, 2006
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,18 ... l?from=rss
RACISM is increasing around the world but it is treated as trivial, the United Nations special rapporteur on racism said overnight, while urging countries to adopt programs favourable to ethnic minorities.
"There is a general increase in racism, discrimination and xenophobia," the rapporteur Doudou Diene said in Geneva. "No continent is spared."
At the same time Mr Diene said there was "rampant trivialisation" of racism in the electoral programs of certain movements which come to power by making alliances with democratic parties, such as those fighting against immigration, asylum seekers or suspected terrorism.
He pointed to the uproar among Muslims over the "Prophet Mohammed" cartoons first published in Denmark, where he claimed the participation of the xenophobic rightwing in power had changed Denmark's political climate over the past few years.
Racism is also affected by a disturbing "intellectual legitimisation" such as during the riots in the Paris suburbs and elsewhere in France late last year when "some eminent intellectuals gave an ethnic interpretation to the events," said the Senegalese-born Mr Diene.
Faced with growing racism, Mr Diene said that "affirmative action is the only response in the short and medium term that can give equal opportunity to marginalized communities in terms of access to jobs and housing."
While that is one way to unblock the barriers, he added that "the deep cause of racism is ignorance."
Mr Diene also announced that in June he would travel to Russia where cases of racist violence including neo-Nazism have increased in the past few months.
"I am going to Russia where some very serious things are happening, where people are being killed in the streets of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and elsewhere: blacks, Arabs and people from the Caucasus," he said.
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