The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed on 21st March yearly, to remind everyone of the consequences of racial discrimination and also encourages people to remember their obligation to combat racial discrimination. It is a day of great significance in the history of the struggle to end the policy of Apartheid which segregated people on the basis of their race and skin colour as well as denied the basic human rights of the minority.
Racial discrimination is a poison that diminishes individuals and societies, perpetuates inequality and feeds anger, bitterness, and violence. The fight against racism and all forms of discrimination is a mainstay of peace and social cohesion, especially in our increasingly diverse societies. On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, WAY calls on young people, member organisations, and partners to step up their efforts to build a more inclusive, more giving, and fairer world.
The theme for this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is “Youth standing up against racism” and it engages everyone through the campaigns #FightRacism and #Standup4humanrights that aim to foster a global culture of tolerance, equality, and anti-discrimination and calls on each and every one of us to stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes. COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted everyone, especially young people. As the virus began to spread in early 2020, the pandemic of hatred, violence, and fear was unleashed everywhere.
Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the declaration, without distinction of race or any other kind. Yet racism, xenophobia, and intolerance are problems prevalent in all societies, and discriminatory practices are widespread, particularly targeting migrants and refugees as well as minorities.
We at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) deem that racism is taught, and, thus, believe that the best way to combat this issue is to approach the concern with solidarity, unity, and harmony. We seek to promote global citizenship education and develop tools and expertise capable of enhancing mutual understanding, critical thinking, and intercultural dialogue. We shall continue to encourage the young people and youth leaders, to unite and incorporate the ethics of respect, equality, and solidarity in their daily activities.
We also call upon our member organisations to come together and reinvigorate their efforts to combat racism, and to highlight the areas that still need most work. Together, let us take comprehensive measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, and to promote tolerance, inclusion, unity, and respect for diversity.