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Statements and speeches Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Concrete action needed to end racial discrimination – UN Human Rights Chief

06 March 2023

All human beings are born free and equal. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind. This is the promise set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, the daily reality for millions of people shows how far this promise is from being realised.

Racism and racial discrimination affect people in every corner of this planet. This needs to stop.

Recent tragedies have galvanized attention and further commitments to action, prompting momentum for change. It is time for governments to take concrete steps - with effective participation of those affected and their communities - to tackle persistent and emerging forms of racial discrimination; and to repair long-standing human rights violations, including those rooted in legacies of enslavement and colonialism. 

The commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will give States an impetus to take prompt and robust steps, in law and in practice, to advance equality and combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Racial justice and equality for everyone is possible.  Let’s get to work to make it a reality.


The High Commissioner has sent a letter to States inviting them to combat racial discrimination by committing to take specific and urgent actions. To read it, click here. English and French

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva
Ravina Shamdasani :  + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] or
Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or
Jeremy Laurence +  +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected] or
Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

In Nairobi
Seif Magango : +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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