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Education is the Best Weapon against Racism

OFFICE OF THE RACE RELATIONS CONCILIATOR
TE TARI WHAKAWHANAUNGA-A-IWI


Press Release: 11/10/01

Education is the Best Weapon in the Battle against Racism

Ethnic communities around the country agree that racism and prejudice can only be countered with educational strategies that promote racial harmony and diversity for all.

Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin said that the Race Relations Office had just completed a series of community consultations with representatives of different ethnic groups around New Zealand.

“At every meeting there was unanimous agreement that racism is bred of ignorance and that you can not change prejudiced attitudes by legislation alone,” said Mr.Fortuin.

“The only really effective way to combat intolerance, and break the cycle of racism, is through positive communication and education strategies”.

The consultations also helped to cultivate a renewed sense of community connection and cooperation among the groups who were represented. Another result was a more confident relationship between a wide range of ethnic communities and the Race Relations Office.

A representative of the Muslim community said that everybody now had to take the opportunity to share information with each other.

“If we all communicate we can build a great big chain of networks that becomes the bridge to fill in the gaps between and about each other”.

Some of the education and communication strategies that were devised to assist the Race Relations Office to encourage greater racial understanding are:
- Ensure widespread promotion of and access to the new educational resource “Racial Harassment In Schools”.
- Assist and maintain new inter-community links.
- Continue to develop a fact file relating to incidents of racial harassment and abuse.
- Collaborate on the promotion of, and work on, Race Unity Day 2002 as a celebration of harmonious diversity in New Zealand.

Mr.Fortuin said that the police were also being supportive of the drive to combat racial harassment. Police representatives attended several of the consultations which had helped to boost feelings of security and trust, about law enforcement, among those present.

Muslim leaders thanked the Race Relations Office for its proactive approach to the issue and said that the actions of the Office delivered the message, to ethnic groups, that in New Zealand every single person’s dignity matters.

For further information please contact Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin on 021 465 254.

3rd Floor, Club Med House, (Cnr. Queen and Durham Sts) 175 Queen St,
P.O.Box 105-102, Auckland Central, Ph. (09) 307 2352, Fax (09) 377 0123
Papa Tuatoru, Te Whare o Club Med, 175 te Ara o Queen, (i te kokonga o nga Ara of Queen me Durham),
Pouaka Poutapeta 105-102, Tamaki-makau-rau, Waea (09) 307 2352, Waea Whakaahua (09) 377 0123

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