International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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Highlights:
  • United Nation's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is marked annually on 21st March.
  • The theme for 2018 is promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination.
  • The day reminds people of the negative consequences of racism and intolerance in the world we live in and asks every person to take a stand against it.
Every year 21st March is marked as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This day is an opportunity for countries and people around the world to stand up against racial discrimination. The United Nations urges all Heads of State to take comprehensive measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The theme for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 2018 is to promote tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity.

Background

On 21st March 1960, the police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". After formation of the all-white government in South Africa, the government began enforcing existing policies of racial segregation under a system of legislation that it called apartheid. Under apartheid, non-white South Africans were forced to live in separate areas from whites and use separate public facilities, and contact between the two groups would be limited.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

This day was later chosen to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Events

This year, the events include:
  • Human Rights Council debate on promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination in Geneva.
  • General Assembly plenary meeting in observance of the International Day in Ney York.
  • Special Event on recognition for the contributions, achievements and challenges of people of African descent worldwide in Ney York.
Today, racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries. An international framework for fighting racism was also developed with the guidance of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. December 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN urges each one of us to join the fight against racism and stand up for human rights.

What is Racial Discrimination?

Racial discrimination is the unjust treatment of individuals or communities on the basis of race or color. This stems from the belief that one race is superior over others. This type of discrimination particularly targets migrants, refugees and people of African descent, or in general people with darker skin colors.

However, each person is entitled to human rights without discrimination by the Article 1 and Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While Article 1 states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, Article 2 states that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of race or any other kind.

References:
  1. International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 21 March - (http://www.un.org/en/events/racialdiscriminationday/)
  2. Race/Color Discrimination - (https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/race_color.cfm)
Source: Medindia
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