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Celebrate the elimination of racial discrimination


Let us Honour and Celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on its 55th Anniversary on SUNDAY, March the 21st 2021

By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

Do we know that March 21 is the International Convention/Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)? On this day in 1960, police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against "apartheid laws," killing 69 people. In 1966, on the occasion of the proclamation of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble efforts and eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

The intention of this initiative is to take a lead in coming up with long-awaited information that the world’s population, especially the people of countries called developing countries such as Sudan in a dire need to know, honour, support and literally apply it. One has thought it a topic of utmost importance, especially for peoples who have been afflicted by the fires of colonialism under oppression, humiliation, injustice, racism and impoverishment and worst of all being marginalized in their own native country even after the so-called Independence from the Colonialism of the Former Masters who entrusted their previous power to their obedient submissive followers who, from day one, turned into new masters persecuting their own countrymen and women with unprecedented racism and exaltedness, and the result is the marginalization of the majority. We the citizens in the developing countries at times felt as if we were still under the era of a new notorious metamorphosed Apartheid!

"We fear that the world will reach delicate and critical moments in the fight against the demons of hate," said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. In the face of an alarming increase in xenophobia, racism and intolerance, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights launched its campaign https://www.un.org/ar/observances/end-racism-day

This article comes against the backdrop of the fact that in 1960, police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in Sharpville, South Africa against "apartheid laws", killing 69 people. South Africans mark 55 years since one of the worst apartheid-era mass killings, but other atrocities are still forgotten. But racial discrimination in one form or another is still remaining rife in the world today in our World. One can mention a few for example. The famous slogan of “Black Lives Matter that spread Worldwide following what happened to the 46-year old American Blackman George Floyd on May 25 when Minneapolis police officers arrested him and the Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal and the event went viral showing Mr Floyd was shouting – saying I cannot breathe while the policeman did not remove his knee from Mr Floyd’s neck till he lost consciousness, a living reminder. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/31/us/george-floyd-investigation.html

On Sunday March 20 2021, we the people of the World will come together united against racism, Islamophobia, antisemitism and fascism. Moreover, they’ll stand in solidarity with refugees and migrants to send a powerful message to those in power that racism will be defeated. Moreover, this article also comes as a preemptive attempt coinciding with this important anniversary that might come and pass without many people realising the anniversary. As well, it represents a reminder to the various communities that might be targeted.

The UN General Assembly resolution 2142 (XXI)(link is external), adopted on 26 October 1966, proclaimed 21 March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to be commemorated annually. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966 which signifies the struggle to end the policy of apartheid in South Africa, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/nodiscriminationday/2020

Over the years, UNESCO has celebrated International Day by organizing events in Headquarters and its field offices, as well as in cooperation with the member cities of the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – ICCAR (formerly the International Coalition of Cities against Racism). https://en.unesco.org/themes/fostering-rights-inclusion/iccar

The struggle against racial discrimination is a central element of UNESCO’s work to build peace in the minds of men and women, through education for tolerance, the rejection of racist stereotypes that may persist in culture or in the media. https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/nodiscriminationday/2020

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965 entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19.

Let’s Fight Racism!
Racism, xenophobia and intolerance are problems prevalent in all societies. But every day, each and every one of us can stand up against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes. Be a human rights champion, #fightracism and #Standup4humanrights

Dr Martin Luther King, in this quote from his Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, expresses his belief that people will one day leave racial injustice behind. He aligns racism with war, and peace with brotherhood. In line with his adherence to nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, he states that truth and love will ultimately win; he added saying: “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word”. – Dr Martin Luther King Jr. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/26142-martin-luther-king-jr-acceptance-speech-1964/

In this quote from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Dr King expresses his belief that people will one day leave racial injustice behind. He aligns racism with war, and peace with brotherhood. In line with his adherence to nonviolent protests and civil disobedience, he states that truth and love will ultimately win. https://www.humanrightscareers.com/issues/quotes-on-racial-injustice/

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is an author, columnist and blogger. His blog is http://thussudan.wordpress.com/

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