‘Eradication of racism will be the most important step toward lasting harmonic peace’

As every 21st of September, Club de Madrid wants to celebrate peace and advocate for the end of all hostilities and the use of dialogue as the main weapon to solve conflicts. Even more so in this year in which reality has hit us with all its force, showing us that not only we are far from ending war, but that new ones continue to break out.

Multilateralism matters. This is one of the main objectives of Club de Madrid and one of the most important elements to strengthen the ideals of peace. We hope that the 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire that the UN General Assembly proposes for this day will be extended in time and that peace will never have to be claimed again.

But to speak of peace is not only to speak of war and weapons, but also of egalitarian societies. For a society to be egalitarian, all its members have to be treated equally, regardless of their race or origin. Achieving a world without racism is the UN’s goal for the International Day of Peace 2022, to which Club de Madrid subscribes: ‘End Racism. Build Peace’.

Club de Madrid, an organisation that brings together more than 100 heads of state from all over the world, wants to be a reference in the fight against racism and show that dialogue between different people can be successful. Our Members come from 72 different parts of the world, but they are united by the goal of making the world a fairer, more democratic and egalitarian place.

One of these Members is Jigmi Y. Thinley (Prime Minister of Bhutan, 2008-2013), who wants to mark this day by calling for the world to take the step to remove racism from all our societies:

“On this day of renewal of our hope and dream for an end to all hostilities within and among nations, it is indeed most important that we focus our attention on racism. It is this evil that lurks in the shadows of the minds of too many among us that is at the heart of alarming, senseless and brutal violence.  There is no room for racism in any form in this one, single neighbourhood that human society has become. I am convinced that the eradication of racism from the deepest recesses of our mind and its existence in every form will be the most important step toward lasting harmonic peace”.

Our Member and current UN Secretary-General António Guterres (Prime Minister of Portugal 1995-2002) reflects in the same way. He stresses that racism is present in all aspects of societies and we have to fight against it:

“Racism continues to poison institutions, social structures and everyday life in all societies. It remains a key factor in persistent inequality, destabilising societies, undermining democracies, eroding the legitimacy of governments, and … it is a scourge that is also unequivocally linked to gender inequality”

But our Members do not stop at words, many of them, such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (President of Liberia, 2006-2018), have joined Club de Madrid’s initiatives to fight racism. Sirleaf sent this video to support the Afro-descendant population of Peru:

In addition to Sirleaf, other Club de Madrid Members such as Carlos Mesa (President of Bolivia, 2003-2005) and Enrique Iglesias (Secretary General of the Ibero-American Cooperation Secretariat, 2005-2013) have participated in sessions of this programme, which is part of the Shared Societies Project and aims to promote legislative initiatives for the prevention, punishment and eradication of racism and racial discrimination in Peru, particularly towards people of African descent.