International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Every year on March 21st, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is commemorated. On that day in the year of 1960, police opened fire on a peaceful protest in Sharpeville, South Africa, opposing apartheid pass restrictions, killing 69 people. The United Nations General Assembly declared the day in the year of 1966, urging the world community to redouble its attempts to abolish all forms of racial discrimination.

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History of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is commemorated every year on the day in the year of 1960 when police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire on a peaceful rally opposing apartheid’s “pass laws,” killing 69 people. In the year of 1979, the United Nations General Assembly approved a plan of action for the second part of the Decade for Efforts to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. Over that occasion, the General Assembly agreed that every year, beginning on March 21st, a week of solidarity with peoples fighting racism and racial discrimination would be held in all States.

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South Africa’s apartheid system has been dissolved since then. Many countries have eliminated racist laws and practises, and the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has directed us in developing an international framework for combating racism. Despite the fact that the Convention is reaching universal ratification, too many individuals, communities, and civilizations continue to suffer from the unfairness and humiliation that racism brings in all regions.

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Note: IAS exam could ask basic facts about this topic as it holds international as well as domestic importance.


Beyond being a violation of human rights, racial discrimination is destructive to people’s health and well-being, and it threatens societal cohesion. Even though we are in the twenty-first century, there are still countries where racial discrimination exists. A recent example is the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstration, which drew millions of people from all across the world.

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National Educational Alliance for Technology

United Nations (UN) Principal Organs

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL)


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