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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
21 March

Message of the Secretary-General for 2012

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important opportunity to remember the pernicious impact of racism.

Racism undermines peace, security, justice and social progress. It is a violation of human rights that tears at individuals and rips apart the social fabric.

As we mark this International Day under the theme of “racism and conflict,” my thoughts are with the victims.

Racism and racial discrimination have been used as weapons to engender fear and hatred. In extreme cases, ruthless leaders instigate prejudice to incite genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There are many valuable treaties and tools – as well as a comprehensive global framework – to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Nevertheless, racism continues to cause suffering for millions of people around the world. It thrives on ignorance, prejudice and stereotypes.

The United Nations is responding by working to foster inclusion, dialogue and respect for human rights. Where societies have been shattered by conflict, the United Nations strives to promote peace processes and peacebuilding that foster inclusion, dialogue, reconciliation and human rights. Uprooting racism and prejudice is essential for many war-torn societies to heal.

At the same time, I look to all people to join the United Nations in our drive to eliminate racism. We must, individually and collectively, stamp out racism, stigma and prejudice.

This year, we are spreading the word through social media. Visit our new website: "Let's Fight Racism!". Tweet your support with the hashtag #FightRacism. Share the text of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination with the link http://bit.ly/xGOrnX. Post to one of our Facebook pages in English, French or Spanish. Or create your own campaign.

Join us, on this International Day, in spreading awareness to stop racism.

Ban Ki-moon

Previous Secretary-General's messages

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