International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Also known as
International Day for the Elimination of Racism
annually on March 21st (since 1967)
United Nations General Assembly on October 26th, 1966
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that "all human beings are born free and equal." Article 2 goes on to say that everyone is entitled to the rights and freedoms of the Declaration regardless of factors such as race. Still, racism, xenophobia, and intolerance persist throughout the world. Migrants, refugees, and those of African descent have been the biggest targets of discrimination. On this day, and at all times, member states of the United Nations are urged to fight all forms of racial discrimination.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was proclaimed in 1966, and called on the international community to work to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Each year there is a new theme that is focused on. The day was designated to be March 21 because that date is the anniversary of an event in 1960 when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire killing 69 who were protesting against apartheid laws.
How to Observe
The day should be observed by working to combat racial discrimination wherever it may be found. Join a group in your community that works to eliminate racial discrimination, or look for an event related to the day being held near you. The United Nations also holds events that could be watched via webcast.