Debate in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Nordic-Baltic statement delivered by Iceland
29 March 2023
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and my own country Iceland.
This year we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; however, concrete and coordinated action is still necessary to promote and protect human rights and to combat all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.
Sadly, racism and racial discrimination continue to exist in all spheres of society, often causing conflict and suffering. Whether overt or covert, it remains a potent weapon to incite fear and polarization within society. But, as history has shown us far too many times: Any system of oppression, is ultimately one in which we all lose.
Efforts to solve these challenges must be founded on respect for human rights, the inherent dignity and equality of every person. An inclusive civic space, with diverse and meaningful participation, representation, and leadership, is imperative for transformative change. This requires indicating and eliminating structural inequalities and implementing well-targeted policy measures.
Women and girls, as well as persons in vulnerable situations, often face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and marginalization. Their perspectives must be heard and translated into action.
Eliminating racism requires decisive, coordinated, and sustained efforts to achieve real change and progress towards a world where human rights are ensured for all, without discrimination of any kind, and where no one is left behind.