International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2017

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2017

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Highlights:
  • The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a call for global action against intolerance and violence
  • The day is held on March 21 to mark the anniversary of the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960
  • The End Racism Day is aimed at fighting for the millions of people around the world who are victims of racism and racial discrimination
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination or End Racism Day is an annual event observed on 21st of March. The day celebrates humanity and diversity of the human race. End Racism Day is a chance to reaffirm the commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination and help create communities where people can live with dignity, equality and peace. The 2017 theme is "Racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration."
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2017

Significance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is marked to remember the Sharpeville Massacre. On March 21, 1960, thousands of people gathered in Sharpeville, South Africa, to rally against pass laws. They protested against apartheid, a political and social system that required them to carry identification when entering areas outside the state-designated Black townships. Apartheid system is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race in South Africa. The Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) had asked the protesters to return the passes and offer themselves up for arrest.

However, the peaceful demonstration turned violent when the state police opened fire on the protesters. Over 67 South Africans were killed and 186 wounded, with 48 women and children among the casualties. The incident gathered international media attention, and was named the Sharpeville Massacre, which triggered the spark that led to the legal abolition of apartheid system. Sharpeville Massacre is one of the first episodes of insurgence against South Africa's repressive apartheid system. In memory of the lost lives in Sharpeville, the United Nations declared March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 1966.

Theme: Racial Profiling and Incitement to Hatred, Including in the Context of Migration

Every year, various themes are adopted by the United Nations. The theme for this year's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination day is "Racial Profiling and Incitement to Hatred."

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said, "Politics of division and the rhetoric of intolerance are targeting racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, and migrants and refugees. Words of fear and loathing can, and do, have real consequences."

"States do not have any excuse to allow racism and xenophobia to fester. States have the legal obligation to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination, to guarantee the right of everyone, no matter their race, color, national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law," said Zeid.

Every individual is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The cornerstones of human rights law are the rights to equality and non-discrimination. However, in many parts of the world, human discriminatory practices are still widespread. Racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling and incitement to hatred are the types of discrimination.

According to a recent report by the Human Rights Council, "Racial and ethnic profiling is defined as a reliance by law enforcement, security and border control personnel on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin as a basis for subjecting persons to detailed searches, identity checks and investigations, or for determining whether an individual is engaged in criminal activity." The targets of racial profiling and incitement to hatred are the refugees and migrants.

In the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in September 2016, The United Nations Member States condemned acts and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination xenophobia and related intolerance against refugees and migrants. The member states committed to a range of steps to stop hate crimes, hate speech and racial violence.

The Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016 led to a United Nations initiative called "Together" to promote respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. The global initiative led by the Secretary-General in partnership with Member States, civil society and the private sector, aims to change negative perceptions and attitudes towards refugees and migrants.

On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Human Rights urge people around the world to "Stand up for Someone's Rights Today." People around the world are urged to encourage and supports actions to defend the human rights of others.

References:
  1. END RACISM DAY March 21 - (http://www.doonething.org/calendar/endracismday.htm)
  2. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination - (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/IntDayEliminationofRacialDiscrimination.aspx)
  3. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 21 March - (http://www.un.org/en/events/racialdiscriminationday/)


Source: Medindia

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