top of page

Zero Discrimination Day 2022

March 1, 2022

The Zero Discrimination Day is observed annually on 1 March and it was first celebrated by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2014. Sadly, discrimination has many forms, from racial or religious discrimination to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or age, and to bullying at school or at work and it continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world and causes pain and suffering for many.

In 2015, all countries pledged to reduce inequality within and between countries as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On this day, we highlight the urgent need to take action to end the inequalities surrounding income, sex, age, health status, occupation, disability, sexual orientation, drug use, gender identity, race, class, ethnicity and religion that continue to persist around the world. Inequality is growing for more than 70 percent of the global population, exacerbating the risk of division and hampering economic and social development.

Hence, the theme for this year’s Zero Discrimination Day is ‘Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower’ and is highlighting the urgent need to take action against discriminatory laws. Research has shown that this social and structural discrimination results in significant inequalities in access to justice and in health outcomes. In many countries, laws result in people being treated differently, excluded from essential services or being subject to undue restrictions on how they live their lives, simply because of who they are, what they do or who they love. Such laws are discriminatory, they deny human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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 a full and productive life for all without any forms of exclusion and segregation. In order to achieve zero discrimination, political, economic and social policies need to protect the rights of everyone and pay attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised communities. We have a moral and legal obligation to advocate on the removal of discriminatory laws and enactment of laws that protect people from discrimination. Ending inequality for young people requires transformative change.

Everyone has a responsibility to hold states accountable, call for change and contribute to efforts to remove discriminatory laws. Greater efforts are needed to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and there is a need to invest more in health, education, social protection, and decent jobs. Let us stand out! Embrace the diversity that exists around us, understand and accept people’s differences, open minds, respect, and support one another.

bottom of page