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Statement on Racism in the times of COVID-19

Harmony Alliance unequivocally condemns the rise of racism against multicultural communities in Australia in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of incidents of racially charged attacks against Asian-looking people in Australia have caused a widespread fear among Asian communities in Australia, with people unable to go about their daily lives and suffering from serious impacts on their mental health.

More recently, certain cultural communities in Victoria have been blamed for the new outbreaks of virus in the state. Such otherising and blaming of the pandemic on certain communities, leading to racial attacks against members of those communities, is deplorable.

This situation is further exacerbated by implicit bias and discrimination against certain groups who were the first ones to be laid off work, were systematically excluded or exploited by employers claiming JobKeeper payments, and are likely to be out of work longer due to their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Women from migrant and refugee backgrounds have been one of the worst affected groups, with implicit racial bias and prejudice among the major contributing factors to their plight.

The COVID-19 pandemic has uncovered deep seated racial prejudices present in the Australian society. The racist attacks against Asian (and more recently Muslim) communities are not simply isolated incidents, but hold up a mirror to entrenched systemic and structural biases that enable racial hatred and discrimination to exist in the community.

Harmony Alliance stands with Australia’s Asian, Muslim, and all other multicultural communities and asserts that racism in any guise or form is unacceptable. We call for accountability for perpetrators of racially charged attacks and discrimination, and for safety and equity for all members of Australian society.

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