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Address of Dr Fernard de Varennes-UN special rapporteur on Minority Issues to the Ecumenical Strategic Forum on Racism

At an Ecumenical Strategic Forum, convened by the World Council of Churches (WCC) on 9-10 May, religious leaders examined the painful history of racism and also asked difficult questions about how churches may be accountable for racism today. Dr Fernard de Varennes, United Nations special rapporteur on Minority Issues, reflected that, just in the last few weeks, horrific massacres have occurred in a mosque in New Zealand, in churches and other targets in Sri Lanka, and in a synagogue in the United States. “There are many, too many more examples in recent years,” said de Varennes. “It saddens and disturbs me to say that intolerance of the other has almost become a new normal in some societies, often linked perhaps to insecurity, unease, the zeitgeist of our times being one perhaps of fear for the future – and as history unfortunately has shown much too often religious and other minorities are often used as scapegoats.”