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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
21 March

"The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity to renew our commitment to building a world of justice and equality where xenophobia and bigotry do not exist. We must learn the lessons of history and acknowledge the profound damage caused by racial discrimination."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

funeral mourners in South Africa

Mourners at a funeral ceremony in Cape Province for those who were killed by the South African police at Langa Township in Uitenhage (1985). UN Photo

2015 Theme: "Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today"

We fight racism everywhere, every day – throughout the year.

But 21 March is a special day, proclaimed by the General Assembly in October 1966 as International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

This Year 2015, and as requested by the General Assembly, Presidents of the General Assembly and of the Human Rights Council will convene meetings both in New York and Geneva during the commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination through a debate on the state of racial discrimination worldwide.

This year's theme “Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today” aims to explore the root causes of racism and racial discrimination and will stress the essential need to learn the lessons history has provided in order to combat racism and racial discrimination today.

Events

In Geneva, a panel event and a movie screening will take place at the Palais des Nations on 20 March 2015.

Panellists will speak at the Human Rights Council about the importance of preserving the historical memory of past human rights tragedies, including slavery, the slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide which have led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. They will explore the need of elaborating educational and awareness raising materials with a view to contribute to eradicating contemporary forms of racism and racial discrimination.

For the screening of the movie on racism, young people from secondary schools are invited to participate in the event and to hold an exchange of views about situations of day to day racism.
In New York, the same day, a panel event will take place at the United Nations Headquarters, with the participation of academics, including historians and experts from the civil society, active in the field of racism and racial discrimination.

For further information, please contact registry@ohchr.org.

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