March 21.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is held annually on March 21 by decision of the XXI session of the UN General Assembly of October 26, 1966.

On this day in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people during a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, to protest against the laws of the apartheid regime on the compulsory certification of Africans in South Africa.

Proclaiming this Day in 1966, the UN General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. Thus confirming that racial discrimination can be considered a denial of human rights, fundamental freedoms and justice, and it is a crime against human dignity.

UN also recognizes that discrimination is a serious obstacle to economic and social development, as well as to international cooperation and peace.

Procession in the Cape Province as a sign of mourning for the dead at the hands of the police in Witenhague, South Africa (1985). UN Photo
Procession in the Cape Province as a sign of mourning for the dead at the hands of the police in Witenhague, South Africa (1985). UN Photo
Racial discrimination is strongly condemned by the United Nations and any policy related to it is not only unacceptable but also incompatible with the obligations assumed by the member states of the organization under the UN Charter.

However, even today, in many regions of the world, such harmful phenomena as racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which are often directed against migrants and refugees, as well as people of African descent, are being revived.

The UN again and again calls on all states to respect the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to take effective measures, including legislative ones, to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, and to promote ideas of tolerance, inclusiveness, unity and respect.

Among the programs that can help combat racial discrimination, the UN considers, in particular, assistance in providing equal opportunities for general education and vocational training, as well as guarantees regarding the use (without discrimination based on race, color or ethnic origin) of basic human rights, such as the right to vote, the right to equal access to the use of social services.