Johannesburg, June 4, 2020
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the African Union (AU) chairperson, has called on countries of the world to shun racism and intolerance.
Ramaphosa made the remarks late on Wednesday while taking part in a virtual conference of the 1st Extraordinary Inter-Sessional Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States.
He described the coronavirus pandemic as a global public health emergency needing a global response.
“We, therefore, need to promote multilateralism as the most effective instrument to ensure that all countries, big and small, rich and poor, are accommodated and their voices heard,” he said.
Ramaphosa reaffirmed full support for the initiative by the World Health Organisation (WHO) together with many governments, non-profit organisations and industry leaders to speed up the development and production of vaccines and therapeutics.
He also expressed support for efforts aimed at ensuring that the vaccines and therapeutics were distributed speedily and equitably across the globe.
Ramaphosa said that WHO had been instrumental to supporting national efforts at combating COVID-19.
“Global solidarity demands that we also stand as one against all forms of racism and intolerance” while fighting the pandemic, Ramaphosa added.
He said the AU had strongly condemned the murder of George Floyd in the U.S. and shares the anger of millions in the U.S. and across the world.
Outrage over the death of unarmed African American George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis has been growing across the U.S., and now, beyond.
Floyd, 46, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he stopped breathing.
“As countries that have borne the brunt of racial discrimination over centuries, we need to work together to end the scourge of racial violence, wherever it occurs.
“By working together, we can build a peaceful, just, healthy, and prosperous global community,” said the AU chairperson.