House of Commons event to fight racism

Dawn Butler MP hosted a reception to acknowledge the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in the Speaker’s Apartments at the Houses of Parliament.

The UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established six years after an event (known as the Sharpeville Tragedy or Sharpeville Massacre), which captured worldwide attention. This event involved police opening fire and killing 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid ‘pass laws’ in Sharpeville, South Africa, on March 21, 1960.

The UN General Assembly called on the international community to increase its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination, when it proclaimed the day as a UN Day of observance in 1966. It also called on all world states and organisations to participate in a programme of action to combat racism and racial discrimination in 1983. It held the World Conference against Racism and Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001.

The event, held in conjunction with the Jamaica National and The Voice, was attended by numerous cross party MPs, Lords and Baronesses, including the Speaker of the Commons, as well as many individuals, including Keep The Faith publisher, Shirley McGreal, who have played an important role in fighting against racial discrimination. There were also statements by the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition and the Mayor of London.

The event featured live performances by the Voices of Virtue choir and Brent’s own St Michael’s Children’s choir.

Dawn Butler said:

“I was delighted to host this important event in Speaker’s House, ahead of the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Tuesday 21 March.

I hope this reception raised awareness for the UN day, and reaffirmed our commitment to eradicate all forms of racial discrimination from our society.”

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