Belgium remains committed to the elimination of racial discrimination

21 March marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Its commemoration remains both relevant and necessary, as racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance persist in societies around the world. Today, racism is still entrenched in many societies, transcending generations and perpetuating inequality and marginalisation.

Whenever racism occurs, we have the moral obligation to denounce and condemn it. This day is a day of solidarity with the victims of racism and racial discrimination. Silence equals tacit approval of racism, hence it is not an option. Not today, and none other day. Belgium unequivocally condemns and rejects all forms of racism, hate speech and incitement, both online and offline.

To help us achieve the goal of freeing society from these scourges, Belgium turns to the various UN mechanisms. Within the framework of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Belgium contributes to the Committee in charge of supervising the implementation of the Convention. Furthermore, our country will follow up on the accepted recommendations made by the UPR mechanism last May. Belgium remains committed to adopting a national action plan against racism and welcomes the conclusions on racism and anti-Semitism reached by the EU Council on 4 March.

The International Day is also an opportunity to highlight the important role of young people. Sophie Wilmès: "Young people have always been a driving force in global anti-racism events. I encourage them to stay involved. Racism is always felt deep down. It deprives young people of opportunities - sometimes even of a future. Future generations have the right to a life without discrimination." For Belgium, education plays a crucial role in this respect. We need to build tolerant and inclusive societies, in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.