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Unfortunately, racism does not take a break in times of crisis: people of Asian origin are particularly targeted

Montréal, April 3, 2020 – The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse is concerned about the discriminatory acts and expressions of racism that could occur during the pandemic and that target people from racialized minorities, particularly of Asian origin.

"The unprecedented crisis we are currently experiencing should certainly not allow the expression of racist behavior or discriminatory comments. On the contrary, we need more than ever to show respect and solidarity towards all Quebeckers, regardless of their origin," said Myrlande Pierre, Vice-President of the Commission responsible for the Charter mandate." The virus we face does not make a distinction based the origin of the people. Anyone, whatever their national or ethnic origin, is likely to contract it. The fight against the pandemic must not be a justification for any form of discrimination," she continued.

The Commission expresses these concerns as the media and group representatives report acts of vandalism allegedly committed against institutions associated with Asian communities and discriminatory comments made against people of Asian origin, in person and online. The Commission underlines that discrimination based on ethnic or national origin is prohibited by the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and that it remains prohibited during a health emergency.

Anyone who believes they have been victim of discrimination can contact the Commission. "It is important not to remain silent and above all not to hesitate to denounce and speak about expressions of racism", added Myrlande Pierre.

Regarding the reported acts of vandalism, the Commission published last fall a study on xenophobic and notably islamophobic acts of hate, which documents the impact of acts of hate on the people targeted. The study shows that these acts are a serious form of discrimination which affects the sense of security of people targeted and their communities and their feeling of well-being in society. The summary of this study is available online: www.cdpdj.qc.ca/Publications/etude_actes_haineux_resume_En.pdf

The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human and Youth Rights Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.

Meissoon Azzaria
438 622-3652

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