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B.C. Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender speaks after releasing the final report on her inquiry into hate during the COVID-19 pandemic, in Vancouver on March 7.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

British Columbia’s human-rights commissioner says the devastating events in and around the Gaza Strip are causing a surge of discrimination and violence targeting Jewish and Muslim people.

Kasari Govender says in a statement that she is deeply concerned about the rising number of hate incidents and she’s calling for immediate and sustained action to address and prevent further proliferation.

Govender says Vancouver police alone have reported 18 hate incidents aimed at the Jewish community, while the National Council of Canadian Muslims has said the last few weeks have been the worst in decades for Islamophobia reports.

She says the latest surge follows a wave of discrimination this fall against trans and gender diverse people, which came after a dramatic rise in hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Govender says while hate isn’t new, it will rise during times of crisis in society and be amplified by the spread of misinformation if no concerted action is taken.

Govender says it’s critical that those affected by discrimination have appropriate avenues for reporting incidents – and that justice is pursued for hate crimes.

She says the dozen recommendations to counter hate that she made in a report to the B.C. government last year need to be implemented to address the rise in hate that happen during moments of societal crisis.

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