General Assembly General Assembly



Mr. President,  

We associate ourselves with the statement delivered by Ecuador on behalf of the G77.   

Mr. President, 

The fundamental idea behind the United Nations is one of sovereign equality of nations and equality among human beings.  

Recent human history has seen systematic and sustained gross violations for this fundamental value leading to much human suffering through racism and racial discrimination, sometimes supported by dubious and motivated science. Slavery, colonialism, Nazism and apartheid institutionalized this evil for subjugating entire peoples and nations.  

Mr. President, 

The United Nationsthat emerged in the wake of much destruction started directly addressing these evils.   

Within months of the UN charter coming into force, India took the lead in 1946 in drawing the attention of the United Nations to this issue.  

The landmark Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, both adopted in 1948, along with work started by ECOSOC and UNESCO laid the foundation for the struggle against racial discrimination.   

India, along with fellow developing countries, also argued strongly for an end to colonialism that was deeply inter-twined with blatant racial discrimination.   

As many countries gained independence during the 1950s and 60s and joined the United Nations as equals, the General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1965 that also established a Committee on Racial Discrimination to oversee its implementation.   

This was followed by sustained efforts at the United Nations to focus attention on apartheid, racism, situations of racial discrimination in non-self governing territories and the subjugated aboriginal populations in the Americas.   

These collective efforts have led to far reaching changes and transformation, including the end to apartheid and delegitimizing any talk of racial supremacy.  Modern genetic studies confirm the mixed deep ancestry of all peoples, based on migrations across regions.  

The challenges of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, however, continue to plague societies.  The continuing work of the UN in this regard, therefore, is useful and necessary. 

The increase of human mobility in the age of global businesses; the uneven economic impact of globalization within and among nations; and intense armed conflicts in some parts of the world that have led to exodus of refugees, all contribute to the growing fears and insecurity among various communities.  Such fears translate into extreme intolerance and xenophobia targeted against different ethnic communities.  This has been accompanied by growing nationalist tendencies across several nations in the recent past.   

Such racial discrimination feeds on visible differences among ethnicities to categorize people or even nations as simply 'us and them'.  Insecurities based on irrational and inadequate understanding of global trends are often utilized for political purposes, leading to intolerance and violations of human rights and principles of equity and justice.   

It is important to make all efforts to counter false propaganda that fuels racism and racial discrimination, spread instantaneously through misuse of the power of social media.  

Mr. President, 

The Indian civilization has been a longstanding home to a mega-diversity of ethnicities and races.  India draws its strength from this diversity of ethnicities, religions, languages and cultures.  We are well aware of the abiding importance of equal treatment and non-discrimination among communities for a lasting peace and prosperity of our young nation. 

Having been victims of racism and racial discrimination over the last few centuries of colonial domination, the Indian people and their leaders led a valiant non-violent struggle against their colonial masters. The Constitution of independent India enshrines the principle of equality and non-discrimination on the grounds of race, through several articles.  Further strengthening of the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure are underway to address any crimes relating to racial discrimination.   

Mr. President,  

Self-determination is another longstanding issue on which the United Nations has played a very important role. Self determination in this context refers to the rights of people that have been colonized or continue to be under foreign domination. It clearly refers to the peoples of non-self governing colonies or trust territories.  

India, a former colony, has always been in the forefront of those who argue at the United Nations for an end of colonialism and for self determination by those who have been under foreign occupation. Substantial progress has been achieved in implementing this agenda, although some situations continue to be unresolved. In this context, India strongly supports to the right of self determination of Palestinian people.   

The concept of self determination in the sense of national sovereignty, however, is sought to be misused sometimes conflating it with other situations that do not qualify as colonial contexts. This is counter-productive and only encourages misguided and motivated fissiparous tendencies and destabilization that can undermine pluralist and diverse societies and democratic states are not conducive to peace and prosperity. 

Thank you.