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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

#FightRacism poster featuring portraits of 4 diverse people

Did you know that 21 March is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination? On this day in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid “pass laws”. Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the UN General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

Against the alarming rise of xenophobia, racism and intolerance, the UN Human Rights Office has launched its #FightRacism campaign to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality and anti-discrimination.

For this year’s observance of 21 March, the #FightRacism campaign will spotlight global figures who are combating discrimination in sports and will partner with the EuroLeague Basketball to promote a message of unity.

In 2020, #FightRacism will highlight the advocacy of some leading figures of global popular culture – sports, music, fashion, movies, TV, amongst others – to advance equality and anti-discrimination.

21 March is also an opportunity to focus attention on the International Decade for the People of African Descent, who constitute some of the world’s poorest and most marginalized groups. Five years after the Decade’s launch in 2015, the UN General Assembly will conduct a critical mid-point review, assessing what countries have accomplished and identifying actions to be taken to improve the human rights situation of Afro-descendants. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security. UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet will be speaking about the mid-point review at the Human Rights Council.

Join us and take action to #FightRacism. Every day, each and every one of us can stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes.

I fear that the world is reaching another acute moment in battling the demon of hate.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres