International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – 21 Mar.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) marks the  beginning of a week-long show of solidarity with peoples who continue to struggle against the injustice, impact and stigma of racism and racial discrimination around the world. 

This year’s theme recognises that the legacies of slavery and colonialism continue to curtail opportunities and prevent millions of people of African descent from enjoying their full human rights and freedoms. It also highlights the need to ensure that their rights and freedoms are promoted and protected.  

The IDERD is observed annually on the day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 black South Africans and wounded 180 others in Sharpeville, South Africa at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid-era “pass laws”. The United Nations resolved, in 1979, that a week of solidarity with peoples experiencing racism and racial discrimination would be held beginning on 21 March. 

During this time of continued conflicts around the world and heightened tensions in our communities, let us all have the courage to speak up against racism, mobilise against all manifestations of racial discrimination and injustice, and work towards a more just and equitable world. 

Suggestions for meaningful anti-racism action during IDERD

The United Nations Observance page has more information and related resources.