MONTREAL -- The Quebec Human Rights Commission sounded the alarm over racism aimed at the province's racial minorities, especially those of Asian origin.

In a statement released Friday, commission vice-president Myrlande Pierre expressed concern that there could be an increase in racist incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 "The unprecedented crisis we are currently experiencing should certainly not allow the expression of racist behavior or discriminatory comments. On the contrary, we need more than ever to show respect and solidarity towards all Quebeckers, regardless of their origin," she said. “The virus we face does not make a distinction based the origin of the people. Anyone, whatever their national or ethnic origin, is likely to contract it. The fight against the pandemic must not be a justification for any form of discrimination.”


Pierre called on victims of racial discrimination to contact the commission, saying “It is important not to remain silent and above all not to hesitate to denounce and speak about expressions of racism.”

Several Quebecers of Asian origin have come forward with incidents of harassment and verbal and physical abuse during the pandemic. 

The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations has launched a new campaign, called 'COVID-19 doesn't discriminate, neither should you,' to combat the phenomenon.