Brent Central MP Dawn Butler led a debate in Westminster Hall calling on parliament to mark the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is held on March 21st every year.
The day marks the anniversary of a peaceful demonstration held in Sharpeville, South Africa in 1960. During the peaceful demonstration police forces turned their guns on the protesters killing 69 people.
This day has since been used to mark the international effort to combat all forms of racial hatred. The theme this year was aimed at combatting racial profiling and the incitement of hatred.
Dawn, holding a debate on this subject in parliament for the very first time in its history, called on parliament to mark this important date just like it has been across the globe.
The Westminster Hall debate lasted for two hours and saw MPs from all parties contributing, it was hoped that some positive and tangible actions were laid out in which parliament can help to build a more inclusive and tolerant society.
Following the debate Dawn commented:
“I hope that this debate in parliament will be the start of a renewed push, leading to the redoubling of our efforts to tackle racism and discrimination and will finally give this international day the recognition it deserves in the UK.
We cannot stand idly by while we witness a surge of intolerance and a rise in a lack of understanding of different communities when we should be embracing differences, because it’s those differences that make us stronger not weaker.
This has been a month of firsts, last week I was honoured to make history by being the first MP to ever ask a question in the Commons using British Sign Language, to raise of the legal status of BSL, and now the first to hold a debate on this very important issue which should be championed each and every year.”