Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March 2020

In Europe and in the world, all minds are focused on actions to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19 and mitigate the effects of the crisis. The European Union works on all fronts to support these efforts. The latest information can be found on the dedicated European Commission website. We take this opportunity to thank all those who are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic and care for those in need, anywhere in the world.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March 2020, the European Union reiterates its unwavering commitment to fighting racism and xenophobia and all other forms of intolerance. Not only on this day, but every day.

Attacks within the European Union and abroad demonstrate that there is a continuous need to step up our efforts and actions to prevent hate crimes, discrimination, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance. The EU is determined to put an end to these crimes, once and for all. Racial discrimination runs against the values and principles of the European Union: universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. It will never be tolerated.

The EU is taking vigorous measures to ensure the effective implementation of EU laws prohibiting racial or ethnic discrimination in all their manifestations. We are determined to stamp out racist and xenophobic speech online and offline. We are increasing our support to civil society, local authorities and other partners including through funding. We are also continuing to facilitate the exchange of best practices through dedicated platforms, such as the EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.

Mutual tolerance and understanding between communities are needed more than ever. We will continue to pay close attention to the concerns of those particularly affected, including the Roma, Jewish and Muslim communities.

Beyond the European Union, we will remain behind those working to eradicate racially motivated discrimination all over the world, including through funding for dedicated projects. Through our actions we enable, for example ethnic minority children and youth in Vietnam to use the digital space to better understand and claim their rights. We strengthen the collective voices and concerns of freed Haliyas in Nepal to take up the fight against any form of bonded labour. We empower Roma people by improving their access to justice. We fight hate crimes in non-homogenous Jewish-Arab mixed cities. We provide free legal and psychosocial aid to marginalised communities.

In our work to eliminate racial discrimination at home and abroad, we will continue our cooperation with partner countries, civil society, human rights defenders and international organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and other regional organisations around the world, and the United Nations. The European Union will continue to fight for the global elimination of racial discrimination. To ensure that all human beings are free and equal in dignity and rights, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims.