UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged the international community to take action to address racism wherever and whenever it arises, and eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
Guterres made the remarks while addressing a UN General Assembly event marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is observed on March 21, Xinhua news agency reported.
Racial discrimination is one of the most destructive forces dividing societies, responsible for death and suffering on a grotesque scale throughout history, he said.
Today, racial discrimination and the legacies of enslavement and colonialism continue to ruin lives, marginalise communities and limit opportunities, preventing billions of people from achieving their full potential, he added.
"Xenophobia, prejudice and hate speech are rising. Political leaders scapegoat migrants, with devastating impact," said Guterres. He pointed out that after a period of increased global awareness of racism, some countries are experiencing a vicious backlash against anti-racist policies and practices.
The UN chief also underscored the need to address racism in the digital age, noting that white supremacist influencers profit from racism on social media platforms, and artificial intelligence algorithms amplify and digitise racial discrimination.
"We need to resist and reverse these trends resolutely and condemn and eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms," Guterres said. "We must take action to address racism wherever and whenever it arises, including through legal channels."