GUWAHATI: Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. This was more or less of what the speakers at an open meeting said as they joined the International Day to End Racial Discrimination in Guwahati on Wednesday.
They said racism, xenophobia and intolerance are still prevalent in all societies, and discriminatory practices are widespread, particularly targeting migrants and refugees as well as people of African descent.
The speakers, mostly, urged the states to take comprehensive measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to promote tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity.
Char and Rural Development Society (CARDS) in collaboration with Control Arms Foundation of India (CFAI), Manipur Woman Gun Survivors Network (MWGSN) and Multiple Action Research Group (MARG) Wednesday convened to commemorate March 21 as International Day to End Racial Discrimination in the city with a panel discussion themed: “Diversity in India: Race, Ethnicity and Culture.”
“Many people, oragnisations came in and we all formed what is known as Northeast India Forum Against Racism (NEIFAR). Our efforts made the Government of India form Bezbaruah Committee, the first ever committee formed in independent India on addressing racial discrimination and work towards a series of recommendations to mitigate the same,” said Binalakshmi Nepram whose speech was read out in her absence.
Journalist and social activist. Krishna Nath said, “Racism unlike what politicians believe is not always a matter of color, it is any kind of discrimination based on false association of superficial, physical difference- skin color, shape of one’s lips, hair, stature and others along with word and intellectual qualities.”
Citing the position of Islam on racism, Syed Miraz Ahmed quoted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) saying, “An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over a white except by piety and good action.”
Speakers who participated in the panel discussion included Manashi Das Queah, Archana Sethiya, Alakananda Das, Dr Richa Panday, Dr Dipti Rekha Sharma and Tinat Atifa Masood.
Closing in the event, Shaheen Hussain Nongbri, President Char and Rural Development Society pledged to do all to address discrimination owing from the constructs of race, ethnicity and culture and make a congenial environment for all to co-exist.
A series of posters were also launched as a campaign on the issue. The event was supported by the European Union.