Each year, the world commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March, the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid "pass laws" in 1960. The theme for the 2021 commemoration is "Youth standing up against racism".
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set out therein, without distinction of any kind, in particular as to race, colour or national origin. The UN has worked for human rights and for the eradication of racism and racial discrimination since its creation in 1945.
International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.