Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
22 Sep 2021
4:50 pm

Ramaphosa addresses United Nations General Assembly on ending racism

Citizen Reporter

Ramaphosa also wants the UN to "put the issue of reparations for victims of the slave trade on its agenda".

President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa wants the UN to "put the issue of reparations for victims of the slave trade on its agenda". Picture: Flicker/GCIS

In a few hours, President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver a pre-recorded speech at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76). 

This year’s UNGA76 which is being held between 21-27 September, will focus on moving past the Covid-19 pandemic, rebuilding and prioritising the health of the planet. 

20 years since Durban Declaration

It also marks 20 years since the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and 25 years since the dawn of democracy in South Africa.

ALSO READ: UN Human Rights Office highlights ‘toxic lockdown culture’ in SA

Here’s what the president is going to say


After apartheid, South Africans built a society based on social justice and fundamental human rights – focusing on
correcting the injustices of the past.

The president said that slavery was one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind and “a crime of unparalleled barbarity”.

He said its legacy remains ongoing in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, and in Africa.

“Millions of the descendants of Africans who were sold into slavery remain trapped in lives of underdevelopment, disadvantage, discrimination and poverty,” said Ramaphosa.

ALSO READ: SA failed its pupils during pandemic – UN report

Affirmative action

South Africa now wants the United Nations to “put the issue of reparations for victims of the slave trade on its agenda”.

Ramaphosa said, “We support the adoption of special measures, including affirmative action programmes and targeted financial assistance, as restitution to communities whose ancestors were sold into slavery.

He has also called for measures to address the historic and contemporary discrimination against Africans.

“This includes increasing representation of people of African descent in global institutions and in positions of leadership,” said Ramaphosa.

Abolish racism

Ramaphosa said that racism affected all ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees, the LGBTQI+ community
and other marginalised groups.

He said that prevailing racist attitudes means that non-white people are still being denied opportunities, and suffering the effects of institutionalised discrimination, and violence in 2021.

“Twenty years ago at the World Conference against Racism, we committed to an anti-discrimination agenda that would bring new hope and change to the lives of millions,” said Ramaphosa.

He said everyone has a stake in ending racism. “Let us all allow humanism to be our guide and solidarity be our strongest force,” Ramaphosa concluded.

(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)