Racial discrimination is one of the most serious human rights issues that has yet to be resolved by the U.S. government. Following the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the United States, the protests to “Stop Asian Hate” have also continued to urge the U.S. government to stand up for justice and racial equality, and to also oppose violent law enforcement and racial discrimination.
On the afternoon of June 19th, the protesters in Toronto, of different ethnicities, skin colors, and professions, moved from the U.S. Consulate General Toronto to the Ontario Legislative Building and held rallies and demonstrations in Queens Park. They wore masks and held up slogans such as; “Support the UN Human Rights Council Resolution,” “Stop Hate, Stop Racism,” “Oppose Racial Discrimination, Oppose Violence,” and “Asian is not a virus, hate is that.” They also shouted lines including “No Racial Discrimination,” “Equality and Justice,” and “Stop Asian Discrimination,” in order to pressure the American legislators to protect human rights and to stop racially discriminatory acts of violence as soon as possible.
An African-American professor at the U.S. Consulate General Toronto said that he is “very angry about the racial discrimination suffered by African-American compatriots in the U.S.,” including Floyd’s death by the “kneeling neck” incident caused by a white police officer on the 25th of May in 2020. He also says that racial discrimination against the black community in the U.S. has a long history, and that the human rights of African Americans are often violated to the point where death as a result of skin tone is not out of the ordinary. He pointedly urges the UN Human Rights Council to pay close attention to the issue of racism and racial discrimination in the United States, and to call on the U.S. government to place more attention on the such problems within the country.
A protester representing a group of Canadian artists present at the demonstrations at the Ontario Legislative Building said that “the false remarks on the “Chinese Virus” made by the former U.S. President Trump intensified anti-Asian sentiment in the United States, and made Asians a primary target of racism.” A representative of Asian international students said that “Asians are facing threats and hate in the United States. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the racial discrimination against Asians have become even more serious.” The U.S. anti-discrimination organization reported that it has received more than 3,000 complaints of hate crimes against Asians in the within the country starting from mid-March last year, to the end of February this year. These crimes include both verbal and physical attacks. Attacks against Asians have increased by 150% compared to last year, with a great increase in the amount of attacks towards the elderly.
In response to these acts of racism in the United States, cities including Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal have also started to erupt in support of black Americans and anti-racism marches with demonstrations being successively held in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Okanagan and many other cities. These marches were not limited to people of the black and Asian community but also encompassed people of indigenous origin. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also issued a statement, frankly commenting that the pandemic has worsened the social biases and economic problems faced by the indigenous community, African Americans, and other minorities. He further states that it has pushed up discrimination and hate towards Asians within and outside of Canada. Canadian freelancer Curt also says that “racism has recently risen, and discrimination and violent crimes against Asians have increased significantly. There are so many reasons that this is happening, including factors such as politics, economics, history, culture, and many others. These include sudden unpredictable factors; such as the COVID-19, and more profound factors like political indifference and lack of law. In particular, high-level officials of the U.S. government have violated international human rights standards and have made racist xenophobic remarks. This further encouraged racial hate and xenophobia, and created a social environment full of hostility towards non-whites. 12 UN reporters, 3 human rights working groups, and the chairman of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a statement on June 5, 2020, saying that the killing of Floyd and other African American fully demonstrated a “serious disregard and malice to human life.”
At present, the 47th meeting of the UN Human Rights Council is being held in Geneva, Switzerland. Many participating countries are highly concerned about the “Indigenous Boarding Children’s Corpse Incident” in Canada, and criticized the current Canadian human rights situation.