March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed every year on March 21.

On that day, in 1960, police in Sharpeville, South Africa, killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid pass laws. The United Nations’ General Assembly proclaimed the observance of an international day in 1966, calling on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity to renew our commitment to building a world of justice and equality where xenophobia and bigotry do not exist. We must learn the lessons of history and acknowledge the profound damage caused by racial discrimination.
— U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In South Africa, Human Rights’ Day is a public holiday during which the lives lost to fight for democracy and equal human rights in South Africa during the apartheid regime are commemorated, with particular reference on the day of the Sharpeville Massacre.

This year, the international day is devoted to the challenges and achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, 15 years after the landmark document was adopted at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in South Africa.

The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action is the most comprehensive framework for fighting racism and related forms of intolerance and discrimination. This year’s anniversary provides the opportunity to recommit to taking the actions outlined in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and for all countries, individually and collectively, to intensify efforts.

With this video on Martin Luther King's speech "I Have A Dream," we want to pay homage to this great figure of history who put huge efforts in the achievement of equal rights and the abolition of racial discrimination.

Cover credit: Ugtimes.com