Statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact
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Statement for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact

March 20, 2021

As we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sunday 21 March, we are reminded by the horrific acts of violence against the Asian community in the United States this week that racism is an every day occurrence in almost every country and every city.

It is important that we recognize that these intolerable acts of hate have resulted from xenophobia, misinformation and unchallenged stereotypes.

Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed social and economic inequalities rooted in racism and discrimination.

As the UN Secretary-General has stated this week: “Wherever we see racism, we must condemn it without reservation, without hesitation, and without qualification.”

I will be speaking on behalf of the UN Global Compact at the Anti-Racism Day Live Global Digital Experience this Sunday to call out these intolerable acts of violence and urge business leaders everywhere to use their influence to root out systemic racism.

The Global Compact stands in solidarity with all those facing injustice and there are specific, concrete anti-racist actions businesses must take without delay. Statements and policies also have to be backed by action, investments and opportunities to address racial imbalances.

We must hold ourselves accountable as well. We continue to have work to do as an organization to live up to the values and principles we represent. Our Global Compact family is representative of many perspectives and backgrounds. During this time, it is important for us to listen, acknowledge and stand with our colleagues who have been experiencing the repercussions of these senseless acts of violence and prejudice.

Our ambition to create the world we want, must be a world based on inclusivity and sustainability. This requires us to acknowledge and speak out against racism in all its forms.

As the Secretary-General told UN member states today at a meeting to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March: “Racism is a deeply rooted evil. It transcends generations and contaminates societies. It perpetuates inequality, oppression and marginalization. Our duty, as responsible global citizens, is to eradicate it.”

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