Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The right to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Yet in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established six years ago after an event, known as the Sharpeville tragedy or Sharpeville massacre, which captured the world’s attention. This event involved police opening fire and killing 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid “pass laws” in Sharpeville, South Africa, March 21, 1960.

Observed on the 21st March yearly, to remind people of the consequences of racial discrimination. It also encourages people to remember their obligation to combat racial discrimination. It is a day of great significance in the history of the struggle to end the policy of Apartheid which segregated people on the basis of their race and skin colour as well as denied the basic human rights of the minority.

The World Assembly of Youth (WAY), deem that racism is taught, and, thus, believe that the best way to combat this issue is to approach the concern with camaraderie and harmony. They seek to promote global citizenship education and develop tools and expertise capable of enhancing mutual understanding, critical thinking and intercultural dialogue. They, therefore, encourage the young people and youth leaders, to unite and incorporate the ethics of respect, equality and solidarity in daily activities.

The Melaka International Youth Dialogue (MIYD) is one of our main channels that seeks not only to help young people voice their opinions but also to find ways to fight racism, promote tolerance among each other and value diversification as an asset to explore ideas from different angles. There are many examples out there, past and present, that can be innovatively emulated and we urge young people to join us in the effort of combating racism and racial discrimination. Together, we take a step further in building a just and equal world for a better tomorrow.

Happy International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination!


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