Committee: Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee
Topic: Combating Racism and Xenophobia
Although xenophobia and racism are incredibly intertwined they are very separate. Racism is defined as ‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior,’ while xenophobia is defined as ‘the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.’ The two are relevant throughout the world and have been around for as long as older generations can remember, it has become more prevalent in recent years. At first, the discriminations were confined to just the country they were occurring are in is now seen on a larger scale due to the emergence of social media and the increased use of online news websites, as well as original paper news.
The Republic of Peru is home to many racist and xenophobic events; in the media alone there are Peruvian characters dressed in blackface, mocking their fellow, mixed, Peruvians, videos of Venezuelans being harrassed have surfaced, and in a two week period 500 attacks occurred against immigrant Venezuelans. The Republic of Peru has as a saying, ¨el que no tiene de Inga tiene de Mandinga,¨ conveying that people of Peru have either indigenous or African blood in them and that the country is one big mixing-pot. What this phrase doesn’t portray is the extreme racism and xenophobia throughout the country. Afro-Peruvians make up 10% of Peru’s 29 million people and yet they make up to 40% less than their fellow Peruvians, up to 70% of Afro-Peruvians do not seek medical attention, despite 29% of them suffering from chronic illness, and 26% of their children are not enrolled in school. Of all 29 million people, 81% agree that discrimination does occur and that nothing is being done about it and 17% of all Quecha and Aimira groups believe that the government protects and promotes their customs and traditions.
The Republic of Peru took measures in November 2009 to apologize to its African-descended citizens for the centuries of racism, discrimination, abuse, and exclusion; making them the first country in the region to apologize, despite being considered one of the most backward countries in the Americas when it comes to legislation over racism and promoting opportunities. Data from the United Nations shows that there has been a rise in xenophobia against Venezuelan migrants in Peru, but nothing has been done to deter the actions. Federico Agusti, U.N representative, claims that it is due to fear of stigmas and urges for changes. Many are still expecting political upheaval and economic slowdowns. Peru would like to continue to combat the problems they are facing through working with the United Nations. They would also like to mimic the actions of countries such as France and Germany.
- Margaret Murphy