By Betul Yuruk
UNITED NATIONS (AA) - UN General Assembly President Csaba Korosi said Tuesday that ''racism and hate speech are besieging societies'' from different directions as the world body commemorates International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
''Like a virus, racism mutates and adapts itself to different times and contexts,'' Korosi told the 193-member General Assembly. ''It is said that ‘racism is like a Cadillac, there is a new model every year.’''
He urged collective efforts at many levels to combat racism.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also warned that racism and racial discrimination can be ''steps on the way to genocide.''
''Racial discrimination is a deeply damaging and pervasive abuse of human rights and human dignity that affects every country,'' he said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams told the General Assembly that discrimination has no borders.
''We see it in education. We see it in health care. We see it in climate change. We see it in access to clean water, in healthy food,'' he said.
Adams said his city was leading the way in the fight against racial discrimination.
''We are making progress, but we must keep climbing as a city, as a nation and as an international community,'' he said. ''Together, we can reach the mountain top and build a more equal world. Together, we can end racial discrimination.”
March 21 is globally marked as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is the day when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960.