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Harry, Meghan call on Commonwealth to own up to its racist past


Racial injustice cannot move forward unless the Commonwealth can acknowledge its past, according to Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

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The couple made the claim during a video-link discussion on equal rights hosted by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), of which they are president and vice-president respectively.

The discussion, which included young, black leaders, focused on how society could move forward with racial equality.

During the meeting, held on July 1 but released publicly on Monday, Prince Harry said the Commonwealth “must acknowledge the past”.

“When you look across the Commonwealth, there is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past,” he said.

“So many people have done such an incredible job of acknowledging the past and trying to right those wrongs, but I think we all acknowledge there is so much more still to do.

“It’s not going to be easy and in some cases, it’s not going to be comfortable but it needs to be done, because guess what, everybody benefits.”

The Commonwealth grew out of the British Empire, which is headed by Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry’s grandmother.

The duchess said addressing racial injustice, especially within the Commonwealth, benefits the worldwide community but it would not be a smooth process.

“We’re going to have to be a little uncomfortable right now, because it’s only in pushing through that discomfort that we get to the other side of this and find the place where a high tide raises all ships,” Meghan said.

“Equality does not put anyone on the back foot, it puts us all on the same footing — which is a fundamental human right.”

Prince Harry also spoke out against racism in a speech last week during a virtual ceremony of The Diana Award — a children’s charity named in honour of his mother.

He said institutional racism was “endemic” and he was “committed to being part of the solution”.

“Sorry that we haven’t got the world to the place that you deserve it to be,” he said, speaking to a youth audience.

“Institutional racism has no place in our societies. Yet it is still endemic.

“Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also said his country needed to do more to end racial injustice.

Johnson said the UK had taken large strides in the past two decades and that would continue into the future.

“I think that the UK has made incredible progress, just in my lifetime, or just in the last 20 years or so,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean we’ve done enough, and we’ve got to keep doing better.

“And we’ve got to keep addressing people’s feelings that they face discrimination and prejudice — and that’s what we’re going to do.”

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