United Nations experts issued a mandate expressing “serious concern” regarding heightened racist and xenophobic attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the document made public this week, experts appointed by the Human Rights Council wrote that violence and attacks against people of Asian descent have reached an “alarming level” since the start of the outbreak.
Tendayi Achiume — an author of the mandate who serves as special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance — told NBC Asian America that it’s difficult to draw a clear link between the “China virus” rhetoric, frequently used by President Donald Trump, and the hate attacks.
The mandate lays out examples of physical and verbal racist attacks and discrimination toward Asian Americans, including instances of stabbing, vandalism and refusal of service.
With the release of the mandate, she hopes the administration will respond, providing what steps they’ve taken to ensure Asian Americans aren’t subjected to this kind of discrimination and intolerance
While mandates such as this have been met with varied degrees of enthusiasm in the past, Achiume said the relationship between the HRC and the Trump administration has been “especially hostile to engagement with international organizations like the U.N.”
While Achiume hopes the Trump administration will take action, she said she believes the real mechanism for change and the true strategic value in the international body is to call attention to cases of intolerance and discrimination, particularly in cases that do not receive as much attention
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