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Celebrating harmony and eliminating racial discrimination

Race Race Discrimination
Chin Tan and audience from Harmony Day speech

In the wake of the Christchurch tragedy, the Race Discrimination Commissioner Chin Tan will hold a series of talks with Muslim communities across the country about their experiences of hate speech and violence.

Speaking at a Harmony Day event in Sydney, Commissioner Tan offered his sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families.

“The community there will need much support and comfort in the days, weeks and months ahead. We stand in unity, solidarity and in grief with them and the people of New Zealand and with the Muslim and wider community here in Australia.

“By really listening, the Commission and I will be working towards practical measures to ensure that we protect our social harmony and wonderful multicultural society, and to keep the Muslim community and the wider community safe from racial hatred and from racial violence.” Commissioner Tan said.

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Since 1999, Australia has also celebrated the day as Harmony Day.

“Although celebrating harmony and eliminating racial discrimination represent different sentiments, I believe they are two sides of the same coin. We cannot eradicate racism without fostering multiculturalism and social cohesion, and vice versa,” Commissioner Tan said.

Commissioner Tan acknowledged community representatives at the event for the work they do to combat racism and improve social inclusion.

“You represent a broad network of Australians committed to eliminating racial discrimination and I am proud to stand amongst you.

“We remain steadfast and committed to the values we cherish: values that honour respect, acceptance, inclusion, harmony, peace and hope over fear and hate.

“We must draw the line against racial and religious bigotry, prejudice, discrimination and hate. It is the right thing to do and it is the answer to harmony and peace in our multicultural society,” Commissioner Tan said.

The consultations with the Muslim community will inform the work of the Race Discrimination Commissioner as well as making an important contribution to the Commission’s national conversation on human rights led by the President, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM.

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