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Abyei, 05 April 2023 – The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) this morning commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in their Headquarters in central Abyei with a short walk to the main foyer in the camp. The Acting Head of Mission and Force Commander UNISFA, Major General Benjamin Olufemi Sawyerr in his remarks before the short walk, stated that the idea of the short walk signified that the world cannot take a long walk to eliminate racism and that the short walk symbolizes the fact that everyone can attain the goal together in a short time.
The United Nations declared International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, six years after police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful protest against apartheid in Sharpeville, South Africa. Each year since then, the world comes together to remember its collective obligation to promote understanding, tolerance, and the building of an international community free from all forms of racial discrimination, segregation and barriers, racism, and related intolerance.
The Acting Head of Mission urged peacekeepers to reflect on the anti-racism principles and legacy of the late South African leader Nelson Mandela in combatting racism. He quoted, “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
General Sawyerr said the fight against racism does not have to be a very long walk but that it cannot be done alone. “We will reach our destination only if we all walk as a community and share the equal burden of common purpose and values as UN peacekeepers from all over the world.”
The occasion witnessed a mass turnout of all military, police, and civilian components and the Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier General Abu Syed Mohammed Bakir, Mission Chief of Staff Alexander Rose, the OiC Chief of Mission Support, Anand Kumar Anand, Senior Liaison Officer Aanchal Khurana, Chief UNMAS Jes Luckett were amongst the participants who attended.
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