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Rise in racial abuse worries

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Wellington, August 18, 2016

Dame Susan Devoy

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed Canterbury’s Rugby’s call for people to continue to report incidents of racial abuse.

It is not easy to be the one to stand up to racial abuse but we make it easier for them when we stand alongside them.

It can’t just be up to the referee: we all need to let that offensive person know their racism is not OK: it’s up to all of us to stand up to them.

High profile complaints in the Canterbury region in the past year had been effective in encouraging other players to speak up about abusive behavior: awareness was growing and this is a good thing.

Racial intolerance and sideline abuse is not solely a rugby or a Canterbury problem, it’s a New Zealand problem.

NZ Rugby is tackling abusive sideline behavior head on with a public campaign that will give some people the courage to stand up to abuse: we can’t solve a problem if we pretend it doesn’t exist.

Racial intolerance is on the rise overseas and closer to home and New Zealanders need to decide whether or not we ignore it and let it become part of who we are: or whether we take a stand and say this is not who we are as a community.”

More than third of the Commission’s complaints are to do with racial discrimination but many incidents are never formally reported.

Dame Susan Devoy is Race Relations Commissioner of New Zealand

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