Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

When, local time: 
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 -
9:00am to 7:00pm
Type of Event: 
Special Event

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity for women and men, along with the whole United Nations System, to renew their commitment to building a world of justice, equality and dignity, where racial discrimination has no place.

On this day, we must recall that respect of others is essential to respect for ourselves and our own communities and that humanity is a single family, brought together by shared aspirations and a common destiny. Lasting peace can only be built on the equality and dignity of every woman and man -- regardless of ethnic, religious, gender, socioeconomic or other background.

This cannot be taken for granted. There has been tremendous progress in making real the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – but racial discrimination and hatred, including hate-motivated actions and crimes, remain far too prevalent across the world.

These threats are compounded by deepening inequalities, and rising exclusion and marginalisation, which weaken the fabric of societies.

Respect and tolerance are liberating acts, whereby the differences of others are recognized as the same as our own and whereby the riches of another culture are taken as the wealth of all.

This needs to be taught, because education remains the most powerful way to prevent racism and uproot discrimination. This is why UNESCO is advancing human rights education across the world, and developing new forms of education for global citizenship. In the classroom and outside, we need to start early, in teaching the values of respect, tolerance and solidarity -- by promoting sports and youth engagement, by safeguarding the common history of humanity, including the history of slavery and places of memory, and by fostering new alliances to challenge discrimination wherever it takes root.

UNESCO will commemorate the Day with a lecture by Evelyne Heyer, Professor of the National Museum of Natural History of France. This will be followed by a panel discussion on "Deconstructing racial narratives: challenging assumptions and fostering diversity" of international experts, such as Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, expert member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, OHCHR; and Lukwago Erias, mayor of Kampala City (Uganda).

The travelling exhibition “Us and Them – From Prejudice to Racism” will also be inaugurated during this event. This exhibition was conceived and produced by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle – Musée de l’Homme.