International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
WASHINGTON, DC - Today Congressmen James P. McGovern and Joseph R. Pitts, the Co-Chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement in recognition of the International Day for the Elmination of Racial Discrimination:
"Today we observe the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, designated by the United Nations to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre on March 21, 1960. On that day, 69 people were brutally killed, including eight women and ten children, and 180 were injured when South African police forces shot into a crowd of thousands of people who were demonstrating against the country’s apartheid “pass laws”. Many were shot in the back as they turned to flee. The massacre marked a turning point in the struggle against apartheid.
Although much progress has been made since 1960, racism and bigotry remain all too common throughout the world, sometimes taking subtler, less obvious forms. As we observe this day, we are reminded by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction by race or color. Today we reaffirm the Commission’s commitment to ending racial discrimination around the world, wherever and whenever it is found".