In 1966, the United Nations proclaimed March 21 as the “International Day to Overcome Racial Discrimination.” This was to commemorate the bloody suppression of a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville in South Africa against apartheid on March 21, 1960.
This year, the initiatives of the international network “World against Racism – Together for a World without Racism” have agreed on March 19, 2022 as the “International Day of Action against Racism.” On this day, there will be worldwide public actions against all forms of racism, against anti-Semitism, anti-Islamism, anti-gypsyism or racist agitation against refugees and migrants.
Already several times the FIR pointed to the inhumane conditions at the external borders of the European Union, in the Balkans or in the refugee camps in Italy and Greece. Real help for these people is not coming by abstract declarations of the European Commission about any quota regulations for admission, but only by a secure entry and adequate accommodation.
We support the protests against inhumane living conditions and “push-backs”, where refugees are forced outside the territory of the EU by armed patrols at the borders. The ongoing cruel deaths of refugees at sea, accompanied by the work of Frontex, and the horrific situation at the Polish-Belorussian border are just two current flashpoints that show the full drama. The “push-back” policy at the EU external borders is not only inhumane, but also contradicts the international right to asylum. We welcome the statement that in view of the war in Ukraine, all war refugees have been promised admission to the EU. At the same time, it is a scandal that people who are recognizable as non-Europeans by skin color and other external characteristics are only granted recognition as war refugees with great difficulty. Such selection is inhumane and racist.
The deep roots of racism can also be found in the present-day effects of colonialism. For some years now, campaigns for decolonization and demands for reparations by the profiteers of slavery have been developing in many parts of the world. However, a more visible expression of the structural racism that continues to operate is the fact that, against the backdrop of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the vast majority of the population in the Global South is denied access to vaccines – because of economic interests. At the same time, in this pandemic, we are seeing an increase in racist incidents in various countries around the world. In the U.S. and the U.K., racist attacks against people from Asian countries have increased significantly. In other countries, we are witnessing that criticism of state Corona measures and Corona denial is linked to conspiracy myths that fuel anti-Semitic and racist prejudices.
In this ideological situation, fascist and extreme right-wing parties and organizations pose a serious threat. They profit from racist attitudes and, on the other hand, form the parliamentary arm of racist terror. The dangers of racism and the extreme right are now evident worldwide. On all continents of the world, political forces are gaining strength that promote and nurture hatred and thus pose a threat to large parts of the population.
That is why this year’s “International Day of Action against Racism” is also intended to send a public signal against right-wing populism and the extreme right, who want to use racism to strengthen their political influence.
Together for a world without racism and fascism!