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A man holds a sign reading “#StopAsianHate” outside Youngs Asian Massage in Acworth, Georgia on March 17, 2021, where four people were fatally shot the day before.
© 2021 Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File
(Washington, DC) – The killing of eight people, most of them women of Asian descent in metro Atlanta, shows the need for US authorities to work to eradicate the racism and misogyny that puts lives at risk in the United States, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack on March 16, 2021, targeted people working at or visiting massage parlors.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a surge of violent attacks against people of Asian descent in the US, including assaults on women, members of the working class, and older people that reflects an alarming pattern of disrespect for the human rights of some of the most vulnerable people in the country.
“The killings in Atlanta are a heartbreaking reminder that racist, misogynist hate has consequences,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s US Program. “If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that racial discrimination remains one of the biggest unaddressed problems in the United States.”
Human Rights Watch called on the federal government as well as local agencies to do more to address discrimination against people of Asian descent in the United States. This has deep roots in the United States, as evidenced in attacks like the Chinese Massacre of 1871 and racist policies such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the internment of Japanese Americans. The nation should directly address the history of xenophobia, discriminatory and exclusionary policies, and erasure that have left these communities vulnerable, and address ongoing scapegoating of Asians and Asian American communities.
“All levels of government should work with communities to reimagine public safety, and to eradicate the racism, misogyny and other forms of discrimination that continue to put lives at risk,” Austin-Hillery said.