Shane Jones must stop racist comments says Human Rights Commissioner

Shane Jones must stop racist comments says Human Rights Commissioner

Wellington, March 4, 2020

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon has condemned Shane Jones’ comments against Indian communities as racist, ignorant and harmful.

“Jones’ continued racist and ignorant statements against Indian communities must stop. As a leader in Government, his words are irresponsible and harmful to many Indian, migrant, and ethnic communities. These types of comments divide us as a country and embolden those that hold racist and xenophobic views,” he said.

Against Maori values

Mr Foon said that such stereotyping goes against the central Maori value of manaakitanga (hospitality), which so many of us love about New Zealand, and is the reason a lot of us came here. International students, including those who come from India, choose New Zealand tertiary education because we are a safe county to study.

“They do not deserve to be vilified or discriminated against. The comments about Indian students, and others he has made, undermine the rich contributions that the Indian community has made since first arriving here in the mid-1800s. Indian New Zealanders enlisted in World War I and fought alongside fellow Kiwis at Gallipoli, Somme and Passchendaele. Today, Indian New Zealanders remain an important part of who we are as a society,” Mr Foon said.

Ugliness of hate

Mr Foon said that New Zealand will mark two important events this month, the one year anniversary of the Christchurch Mosque shootings and Race Relations Day, that remind us of the ugliness of racism and hate.

Shane Jones’ comments are an affront to these important moments when New Zealanders should be coming together to support one another, he said.

“The anniversary of the March 15 Mosque attacks marks the day when 51 people were murdered by someone who held erroneous and hateful views towards a religious and ethnically diverse group. New Zealand will also mark Race Relations Day on March 21, which commemorates the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre when 69 Black South African citizens – including ten children – were shot to death by their own police for protesting against racial apartheid laws.
“In an election year, leaders must stop using minorities as their whipping post. We must and can do better. I call upon all New Zealanders and leaders to give nothing to racism and xenophobia,” Mr Foon said.

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