US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that over the last decade, a number of people from South Asia - particularly Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs - have been subject to "senseless" hate crimes in the country due to the colour of their skin or the tenets of their faith.
"In the last decade, South Asian Americans - particularly those who are Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh - have too often faced senseless violence and suspicion due only to the colour of their skin or the tenets of their faith," Obama said in a proclamation to declare May as the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month.
Obama further noted that with irrepressible determination and optimism, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have prevailed over adversity and risen to the top of their fields - from medicine to business to the bench.
The US is recognising this year as the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act's repeal.
"But even now, too many hard-working AAPI families face disparities in health care, education, and employment that keep them from getting ahead," he said, adding his administration remains committed to addressing those disparities.
"Through the White House Initiative on AAPIs, we are working to ensure equal access to Federal programmes that meet the diverse needs of AAPI communities. We are standing up for civil rights, economic opportunity, and better outcomes in health and education," he said.
Every May is observed in the US as AAPI Heritage Month.
Obama's comments came as the US has witnessed several incidents of hate crimes, including the deadly attack on a Gurdwara in Wisconsin on August 5 last year by a white supremacist that killed six Sikh worshippers.