International Maritime Organization (IMO) joined other UN agencies in marking the annual International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21st of March). The theme of the Day in 2023 focused on the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination.
This year sees the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which enshrines a set of common values and acknowledges that rights are inherent to all human beings and are not granted by the State.
In a statement to mark the day, Secretary-General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, highlighted the establishment in 2020 of the Racial Equality and Equity Cross-Divisional Working Group within the IMO Secretariat. Its work culminated in the adoption in 2021 of the Racial Equality and Equity Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2030.
Calling for everyone to be empowered to build societies that are free from discrimination, Mr. Lim said that IMO aligns its voice with that of the United Nations family and the entire world in the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The Secretary-General then went on to point out the urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination is the focus of this year’s theme, in the year which will mark 75 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (on 10 December 1948).
He promised that within the coming year, the Secretariat will take incremental steps towards implementation of other commitments espoused in the Action Plan presented by Dr. Austin.
As part of IMO’s commitments to raising awareness on racial equality and equity through engagement with experts, the organization invited Dr. Yewande Austin, United Nations antiracism expert and honorary United States Cultural Ambassador to IMO Headquarters to deliver a lecture to staff and delegates.
Speaking on the theme “Antiracist Leadership”, Dr. Austin described the mission to combat racism as “more urgent than ever before”.
Dr. Austin proposed a what she called “real approach” based on four principals
Within the IMO family, we must all stand up for a diverse, tolerant and respectful work environment, where each of us can enjoy equality and equity. We all have the power to advocate for anti-racism. Let’s #FightRacism and empower everyone to build societies that are free from discrimination.
… the Secretary-General concluded
To remind, IMO is committed to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goal number 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries is focused on banishing inequalities and discrimination based on race.
Generally, business in the maritime industry are working on making their business more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. According to a recent report by the Diversity Study Group, the shipping industry is making progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). With regards to the maritime industry, ICS has recently published a toolkit on diversity and inclusion (D&I) to aid businesses and industry’s organisations with best practice and guidance.
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