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United Nations Relations

Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Observed in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria - The Zone 1 Chapter of UPF-Nigeria comprising the Federal Capital Territory, and Benue, Narasarawa and Kogi States being coordinated by Monday Akhilomen observed the 2014 UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination through a commemorative seminar held at the Peace Embassy in Abuja on March 21, 2014. Participants at the closing session issued a communiqué calling on world leaders to initiate policies to end all forms of human discrimination based on the realization that all human beings are members of a global family under the parenthood of a common Creator.

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Dr. George Ikpot, UPF-Nigeria Executive Director of the Office of UN/AU/ECOWAS/Embassies Relations, gave the welcoming remarks during which he drew the attention of Ambassadors for Peace to several forms of discriminatory practices in Nigeria and around the world. He welcomed all participants to the commemorative seminar and urged them to deliberate honestly and share candid opinions on ways to end discrimination against fellow human beings.

Ambassador Dr Paddy Njoku (Omenuku), Board Chairman of the National Examination Council (NECO) and National Dean of the Association of Ambassadors for Peace, in his opening remarks as Chairman of the commemorative seminar emphasized the beauty of human diversity and the need to see it as a positive opportunity and not a negative challenge. In his words, “the beauty of our gathering today is the diversity we possess. Each of us should become an agent of peaceful change as we have no right to discriminate against anyone. We are different in our external appearances but we are internally the same.”

The message of the UN Secretary-General was delivered by Ambassador Mrs. Yetunde Olorugbon. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message said: “I call on all people, especially political, civil and religious leaders, to strongly condemn messages and ideas based on racism, racial superiority or hatred as well as those that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. On this day, let us acknowledge that racial discrimination remains a dangerous threat and resolve to tackle it through dialogue inspired by the proven ability of individuals to respect, protect and defend our rich diversity as one human family.”

Vice President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification–Nigeria, Rev. George Marcus Ogurie gave the keynote address on the theme “Role of Leaders in Combating Racism and Racial Discrimination” in which he supported the proposal for partnership between leaders of the family, school and society to end discrimination of all forms in the world. Ogurie said that “organizations like the Universal Peace Federation and the Ambassadors for Peace come handy because they are ideologically equipped with universal principles that go beyond boundaries of race, ethnicity, religion, etc.”

In his remarks at the opening of the general interaction by the participants, UPF-Nigeria Secretary General Dr. Raphael Ogar Oko called on participants to reflect on ways to end discrimination on the basis of religious affiliations, regional/ethnic/tribal/racial affiliations as well as affiliations on the basis of resources in the areas we were born or that we are resident. Dr. Oko further said: “I am aware of the many challenges that our nation is facing at this time. There are several inherent issues that are promoting all forms of discriminatory practices in Nigeria. Our task as Ambassadors for Peace is to become the leaders of our families and communities that will bring such practices to an end. The Nigerian constitution provides for discriminatory practices like emphasis on state of origin instead of place of residence. A Nigerian married to a citizen of another country cannot become the President of Nigeria by our present constitution. These are discriminatory laws that should not be allowed to remain. As we deliberate, please look at these issues seriously and let us offer a new vision for our nation. My strong recommendation for your consideration is based on the teachings of the UPF Founders Dr. and Dr Mrs. Sun Myung Moon that we are all one human family under God and are therefore brothers and sisters. In addition, cross cultural marriage blessing will resolve the present discriminatory practices on the basis of ethnic groups and even religious affiliations.”

During the interactive sessions, Ambassadors for Peace commended the United Nations for dedicating a day in honor of ending racial discrimination. They, however, called on the UN to expand the scope of the day to go beyond a focus on racial discrimination but to include all forms of human discrimination. They also expressed dissatisfaction at the low level of government involvement in promoting such a day in Nigeria being aware of the diversity of discriminatory practices in Nigeria. At the closing session of the interactive session, the following resolution was endorsed:

“The Universal Peace Federation Nigeria in commemoration of the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination

  • commends the United Nations for dedicating March 21 to discussions on eradication of racial discrimination
  • urges the United Nations to enlarge the day to include all forms of human discrimination beyond racial discrimination
  • notes that there are several forms of discrimination in homes, schools and public places in Nigeria and around the world at the local, state, national and even religious institutions
  • condemns all the discriminatory practices in their entirety and calls on governments at all levels to ensure that discrimination against human beings are eradicated
  • recommends the teachings of the UPF fundamental principles for peace as a basis for the eradication of discrimination”

Some invited participants were presented with the certificate as Ambassadors for Peace, and the event ended with a special toast for peace and national unity.

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