The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) representative in Ghana, Abdourahamane Diallo, has underscored the need for the world to unite in the fight against racism and any form of discrimination.
He said racism and discrimination existed everywhere around the world and could be witnessed through illustrations such as intolerance between cultures, religions, mismanagement of languages, tensions with migrants or refugees, discrimination on the basis of gender and discrimination against albinos, witches phenomenon in northern Ghana and the uprising stigmatisation of fulani people in the sahel.
Describing racism and discrimination as poison and insidious, he said, it required more than ever that all commit collectively to fight it.
“Now we must take action together to fight and deconstruct racism, to develop anti-racist policies, to fight stereotypes and foster diversity,” he noted.
Mr Diallo said this at a workshop on advancing the anti-racism and anti-discrimination agenda as a way to ensure social inclusion and promote regional integration.
The workshop was organised by the Ghana Culture Forum in collaboration with UNESCO, PANAFEST and Ghana Tourism Authority
Attended by diplomats including the Columbian Ambassador to Ghana who is also the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Claudia Turbay Quintero; people in the creative arts industry and academia, the occasion was also used to launch PANAFEST 2023 and the outdooring of PANAFEST website .
Racism and discrimination
Mr Diallo pointed out that together, the desire to rid the world of racism and all forms of discrimination must take centre stage in driving global discourse and elevate human consciousness adding that, equal dignity and rights of every individual must remain the starting point for all action and measure of success on racism.
“Systematic racism needs a systematic response which cannot be done without acknowledging and addressing the linkages between its current manifestations and the lack of accountability and redress for the legacies of enslavement, the transatlantic trade and colonialism as well as successive racially discriminatory policies and systems” he said.
He expressed the commitment of UNESCO to fight against racism and to raise awareness on the surest barriers to fight it pointing out that, UNESCO had been at the forefront of the fight against racism and discrimination for 70 years.
He mentioned the projects and programmes UNESCO and the United Nations had been involved in aimed at fighting racism to include Routes of Enslaved People’s project, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its abolition, the International Decade for people of African Descent and the International Day for Peace.
Mr Diallo commended government for the Beyond the Return programme and the PANAFEST secretariat for initiatives such as the PANAFEST colloquium at the University of Cape Coast for advancing Africa-African Diasporan relations.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Tourism, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourism Authority, Benjamin Anane Nsiah, said racism and discrimination were a hindrance to the development of the rest of the world.
Speaking on PANAFEST 2023, the Chairperson for PANAFEST Foundation, Prof Esi Sutherland Addy, said it would ride on the back of the 2021 event.
She said the theme for PANAFEST 2023 which is, “Re-claiming the African Family: confronting the past to face the challenge of the 21st century,” was an invitation for participants to fearlessly point out the challenges to re-uniting the African family and very importantly, illuminate new paths towards transformational unity through drama, visual arts, dance, music, and critical thought.
She called on the African family to take its fate into its own hands emphasising that, though it may be awkward and difficult, ‘ who better to inspire a self examination and an inspiration to stay the course but the thinkers and creatives of African ancestry’.
Highlights of PANAFEST 2023 which would start from July 25 to August 2, include the reintroduction of the pilgrimage starting from the north then to Accra and the Central Region. There would also be lectures, the return journey where participants would have a canoe ride from the door of no return, grand durbar of chiefs, candle light procession, segment for the youth and engagement with religious leaders.