On March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed On that day in 1960, police opened fire at a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid pass laws in Sharpeville, South Africa. 69 people were killed and 180 were injured. Proclaiming the day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.
The 2022 edition of the International Day focuses on the theme: “Voices for Action Against Racism”. This edition aims to highlight the importance of strengthening meaningful and safe public participation and representation in all areas of decision-making to prevent and combat racial discrimination. This reaffirms the importance of full respect for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and of protecting civic space, as well as recognising the contribution of individuals and organizations that stand up against racial discrimination.
According to the UN, “this will send a powerful message to encourage all people in the world to consolidate and strengthen their voices against racism and ensure a safe environment for those who speak up”.