© UNFPA Brasil/Eduardo Cavalcanti

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

21 March 2023


This year marks the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a blueprint for international human rights principles. Drafted by representatives of diverse cultural and legal backgrounds from all corners of the world, it states that everyone is entitled to human rights and freedoms without distinctions of any kind, such as race, colour and descent. But racism and racial discrimination continue to deeply impact people all over the world.

With that in mind, the 2023 theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination focuses on the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination

We must take prompt and powerful steps to advance equality and combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia.

The international day is observed annually on 21 March, the date when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in 1960.

To mark the day this year, UNFPA is releasing a timely advocacy brief: “In Our Words: Voices of Women of African Descent for Reproductive and Climate Justice.” This brief sheds light on the ways that climate change, environmental injustices, racial inequity, and sexual and reproductive health and rights are intersecting and affecting communities of African descent. It also highlights the ways in which the voices, experiences, knowledge and expertise of women of African descent are critical to achieving climate justice.

Further, the United Nations will hold a commemorative event to mark the day on 21 March, 11:00-12:30 pm EDT, which you can watch live on UN WebTV.


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