European-wide Action Week Against Racism was held all over Europe from 14 to 27 March 2011 organized by the UNITED for Intercultural Action – pan-European network against nationalism, racism, fascism and in support of migrants and refugees.
Every year, around 21 March, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UNITED Network (www.unitedagainstracism.org) coordinates the European-wide Action Week Against Racism and calls upon the international community to erase racism, discrimination and intolerance, bringing people together and enjoying diversity.
As mentioned in this year UNITED Network’s statement, to eliminate individual, societal and institutional racism and the injustice they cause, each of us needs to reflect on our attitudes and behaviour, be conscious to the prejudices we carry with us, understand how we learned these and find ways of unlearning them.
When trying to make sense of poverty, deprivation and lack of opportunity, we are urged by the media and by politicians to divide into smaller groups and point the finger at each other, which has developed a culture of blame. This not only deflects from the realities of economic policies and big business practices that drive inequality deep into our societies, it produces a toxic environment of mistrust, suspicion and hostility. We must unite to challenge these racist, populist myths and educate our communities, developing programmes, policies and activities that can change deeply held preconceptions.
Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights Protection (ChPCHRP) as a many-year member of the UNITED Network, also did not stay aside from this year action week against racism.
There were held a series of lectures for the policemen and officials of the Administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Chernihiv Region on the theme “Prevention of xenophobia and racism in the activity of law enforcement machinery”. Alla Lepekha, director of the Chernihiv Women’s Human Rights Center and Tukhan Ediev, ChPCHRP’s program manager delivered lectures on historical origin of the terms “racism” and “xenophobia”, highlighted what is concept “hate speech”, cited last statistics on hate and racism crimes in Ukraine. The speakers emphasized that manifestations of intolerance and discrimination, unfortunately, are still widespread in our community. But, law machinery does not always adequately respond to these manifestations. Sometimes policemen also manifest racism and discrimination.
During the action week against racism, on the basis of the Rozsudiv Migrant Accommodation Center in Chernihiv Region of Ukraine, there were also held joint meetings with the detained migrants and Center’s personnel on the issues of respect for migrants’ right and prevention of intolerance and xenophobia from the part of the personnel.