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Keep reporting racial abuse: Dame Susan

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/07/2016

Racism is a New Zealand-wide problem and not just in rugby, where it has recently reared its head publicly, says Human Rights Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

Dame Susan issued a statement on Saturday morning praising New Zealand Rugby's campaign against abusive behaviour.

"This will encourage people to speak out which is a good thing: we can't address a problem if we don't acknowledge it's there."

She then went on to address the response to racial abuse at games in the South Island.

Canterbury club player Bronson Munro was recently suspended for 46 weeks for racially abusing a Fijian opponent.

"We should all be grateful for New Zealanders who call out those of us who think racial abuse is OK: whether it's on a sports field, or a bus or on the street," Dame Susan said.

"Ugly racial abuse isn't part of our Kiwi culture and good on anyone or any organisation that makes a stand against it."

A third of complaints to the Human Rights Commission were about racial discrimination but many more people never complain formally about so-called "casual" racial abuse, she said.

"We live in one of the most ethnically diverse nations on the planet as well as one of the most peaceful.

"If we are to keep it that way we need to be responsible for how we treat one another, we don't need to look too far to see what happens if racial intolerance goes unchallenged."

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