"Discrimination is a violation of human rights and must not go unchallenged," says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "Everyone has the right to live with respect and dignity."
No one should ever be discriminated against because of their age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, language, health (including HIV) status, geographical location, economic status or migrant status, or for any other reason. Unfortunately, however, discrimination continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world. Many people face discrimination every day based on who they are or what they do.
Zero Discrimination Day is a global event that joins all national, regional and international efforts against discrimination and promotes diversity as well as inclusion. The United Nations firstly celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on the 1st March 2014, after UNAIDS, through its program on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), launched Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.
Observed annually on the 1st of March, draws attention to the millions who still suffer from social and economic exclusion due to prejudice and intolerance. Millions of women and girls in every region of the world, for instance, experience violence and abuse on a daily basis and struggle to access adequate health care and education.
Discrimination in health-care settings also continue to be widely reported. Cases, such as: a young woman newly diagnosed with HIV being told by her doctor that she must be sterilized, a sex worker who has been denied to access any advice or information about their sexual health, a gay man frightened of disclosing his sexual preference to medical staff, an over-dosed drugs-abuser who is dying after being refused for treatment and a transgender person attempting suicide after being turned away from a clinic, are some of the scenarios and indicators of more efforts are required towards the attainment of Zero Discrimination.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), understand that discrimination is a violation of human rights and must be addressed with an extensive approach. We acknowledge that Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to celebrate everyone’s right and pride, especially young people, in order to assure full and productive life for all without any forms of exclusion and segregation. Indeed, it is a day to call everyone in promoting and supporting diversity, tolerance and inclusion as well as standing together against discrimination.
Since our institution, we channel young people’s voice against discrimination and their initiatives to spread awareness within their networks. Therefore, we encourage young people to carry on their fight to defend justice and respect diversity as pertinent asset of unification.
Let us stand out! Embrace the diversity that exists around us, understand and accept people’s differences, open minds and respect and support one another.
Happy Zero Discrimination Day!