The pandemic has reminded everyone there is no room for any sense of superiority, Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou Lottides said to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In her message, Lottides, said this year “finds humanity a year after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, to continue facing the challenges posed to public health and the economy, but especially to the further weakening of the already vulnerable groups of the population.

“Today not only highlights the fragile balance of people who are discriminated against because of their specific characteristics such as race, origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, religion or other beliefs, but at the same time it highlighted the fragile balance of human existence.”

Lottides also pointed out that through states of emergency human rights have been curtailed and tested, “as have our resilience, while inequality, hatred and hate speech have inevitably flourished through the manifestation of intense online anger.”

She added that it was necessary to protect and strengthen existing support structures for people who fall short of the ‘acceptable’ stereotypes and who are therefore more affected by racism and discrimination, social exclusion, devaluation and exploitation.

“The promotion of the principles of tolerance, human value and dignity, the creation of solidarity networks and the cultivation of a culture of respect for diversity and equality between people should be redefined as our main goal,” she said.

“If the pandemic showed us anything, it is everyone’s ‘equality’ in the face of danger, confirming the affinity of human existence that does not allow the cultivation of discrimination, but above all reminded that there is no room for the insult of any sense of superiority.”

Thus, she added, just as united humanity has stood against the pandemic, it must, with the same vigour, resist every phenomenon of racism as a constant and recurring danger.