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Indian born teen earns title in New Zealand’s Race Unity Speech Competition




By NewsGram Staff Writer

Racism is a global phenomenon which is influenced by a range of historical, social, political and economic factors. It takes different forms in different contexts and as a result has been defined in many different ways.

Racism has its roots in the belief that some people are superior because of the particular race, ethnic or national group they belong to. The concept of race is a social construct, not a scientific one.

An India-born teen, Kimberly D’Mello of class 12 earned the title in the national Race Unity Speech Competition for her prescription to combat racism at Tauranga’s Aquinas College in the North Island, New Zealand. The competition was held at the Te Mahurehure Marae in Pt Chevalier, Auckland on Saturday night.

D’Mello was born in India but was brought up in New Zealand. She made it through regional finals and vanquished the other eight at the speech competition to win NZ$1,000 for her school and NZ$1,000 for herself.

During her seven minute speech she said, “Do not wait for someone else. Do it yourself. Do not get someone else to fix the problem. Do it yourself and don’t rely on the Aussies.”

“We are all responsible for the kind of country and community we live in,” she added.

“D’Mello had captured the fundamental essence of human rights,” said Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner, who was one of the judges.

On her experience of sharing her views on racism, D’Mello said “It was good to perform in front of such a large audience.”

D’Mello admitted that she has not experienced racism yet but have seen people discriminating on the basis on color and name.

The theme of the night, however, was about bringing people together, so that was what she focused on, she said.

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Australian government to find humane solutions for refugees in Manus Island

FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters)
FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters). VOA

The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the Australian government to find humane solutions for hundreds of refugees it has abandoned in a precarious situation on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

UNHCR accuses the Australian government of shirking its responsibilities to care for and protect some 800 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

It says the situation has become more precarious for the refugees since the government closed its so-called offshore processing facility at the end of October. Over the past four weeks, it notes, refugees who were moved to three new accommodation sites have been attacked several times. The worst case involved three people armed with machetes and an axe.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Cecile Pouilly, says local hostility and resentment against the refugees is high and growing. She told VOA the Australian authorities must resolve this critical situation.

“We are talking here about people who have suffered extreme trauma and now are feeling so insecure in these places where they are staying. There are many victims of torture. People who have been deeply traumatized have been detained, having no idea what is going to happen next to them. I think this mental issue, this psychological issue is a major one,” Pouilly said.

A recent medical report commissioned by UNHCR finds the cumulative effect of uncertainty about their future is causing a deterioration in the mental and physical health of the refugees.

It warns cessation of services, substandard living and hygiene conditions and inadequate medical care are increasing violence and self-harm among the refugees. (VOA)

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