Published 7 February 2020
The State’s anti-discrimination authority, Anti-Discrimination NSW, is encouraging community cohesion and calling for calm as public health concerns about the coronavirus fuel discriminatory behaviour.
“We are very disappointed to hear reports of coronavirus-linked discrimination against Chinese and Asian communities across Australia,” President of Anti-Discrimination NSW Dr Annabelle Bennett said.
“We have heard alarming reports from the media, social media and firsthand accounts of people with an Asian background being targets of discrimination, racism and racial profiling.”
“Racism, whether it’s deliberate, casual or indirect is absolutely unacceptable. Now is the time for our communities to come together and offer support, not a time to spread fear, stigma, and xenophobia.”
Racial discrimination is toxic and may have harmful effects on a person’s mental health, and racial vilification can result in a community left marginalised and vulnerable to attacks,” said Dr Bennett.
In NSW, race discrimination is against the law in various areas of public life, including work, education, accessing goods and services, and in registered bars and clubs.
The Anti-Discrimination Act also makes racial vilification unlawful; vilification is any public act that could incite hatred, serious contempt or ridicule towards people of a particular race.
“We understand communities are concerned about an outbreak of an infectious disease but this is a time for facts, not rumours and misinformation,” Dr Bennett said.
“We are urging people to get their information from credible sources like the NSW Government’s Ministry of Health website or they can call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.”
Dr Bennett is encouraging anyone who thinks they may have been unfairly treated because of their race to contact AD NSW’s enquiries service on (02) 9268 5544, 1800 670 812 (free call), or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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