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Malaysia has some ways to go in battling racism, intolerance – Shamsul Iskandar Mohd
[Image: 20210831-merdeka_malaysia_flag_independence-afp.jpeg]

TWENTY years ago, 26-year-old me was lucky to be a part of a delegation to South Africa to be part of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance from August 31 to September 8, 2001.

This is where the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), an international framework to strive for racial justice, was adopted.

It was fascinating to be involved in the process of the DDPA being signed by participating countries, with the United Nations playing an important role.

It was also a very exciting experience for me. Countries like the United States and Israel pulled out at the last-minute, citing unfairness in linking Zionism to racism.

This year is the 20th anniversary of this key moment where the international community came together to address racism and agree on steps to take to create a fair and just society.

The declaration has been pivotal in laying the foundation for global efforts in combating and preventing racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

However, just three days after the DDPA was signed, 9/11 struck.

The success of the meeting in South Africa was overshadowed by these terror incidents, and the efforts achieved in the conference were harder to implement in such a volatile environment.

If I dare say so, the Western world, especially the US, was so caught up with the term “Islamophobia” instead of addressing racism as a global problem that is essentially the root of all evil.

Race relations and international diplomacy, as well as policies, were indeed made more complicated as the world was sent reeling from the aftermath of 9/11.

In the last 20 years, a lot of things have changed. Technology has changed, the way we interact with people has changed and the way we view the world has changed.

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Malaysia has some ways to go in battling racism, intolerance – Shamsul Iskandar Mohd - by superadmin - 09-24-2021, 08:22 PM

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