“Stigma and discrimination damage people and fragment societies- people should never have to suffer in fear and darkness”.
~Michel Sidibè Executive Director UNAIDS
UNAIDS highlights the right of everyone to be free from discrimination.
Many around the world face discrimination based on who they and what they are. Discrimination continues to demoralize efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world despite the law, and education provided to eliminate the discrimination. Thus, March 1st is recognized as the Zero Discrimination Day worldwide for promoting diversity, tolerance, inclusion and celebrating equality, as an attempt to wide-spread it among nations to make aware of one’s own rights to take actions.
Discrimination can happen to any of us. Imagine a hospital staff denying any advice about a disabled person’s sexual health, a gay man frightened of disclosing his sexuality to another person, a transgender person committing suicide because they were turned away from a clinic. These are few few instances where discrimination happens in a subtle manner.
In addition, work place discrimination is very popular among the third world countries. We see inspirational videos and statements from senior staff members of companies stating that they treat everyone in the company the same and equality is one of their standards but does that really happen? The cleaner and the CEO cannot even go in the same lift in some companies. That is discrimination happening within workforce.
Zero Discrimination Symbol
The symbol for the day is the butterfly. People use it widely to share their stories and photos to end discrimination, and work towards positive transformation.
“Discrimination refers to the selective practice of unfairly treating a person or a group of people differently than others due multiple factors such as religion, gender, race, sexuality, age and disability amongst others.” – United Nations
Zero Discrimination Day was first celebrated by UNAIDS, the United Nations’ HIV/AIDS Program, in December 2013. Since then, the UN and other global organizations officially celebrated the day on March 1st, 2014. It was to promote everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, height, weight, profession, education, and belief and continues on.
Zero Discrimination Day highlights how everyone can be a part of the transformation. Everyone can take a stand towards their rights, for a just and fair society. Therefore, a collective action from each individual is required to address the misconducts practiced among the society.
Let’s speak against the discrimination! Let’s understand our responsibility to transform the world into a fair and equitable society for everyone.
Finally, Five Actions for You from UNAIDS for Zero Discrimination in 2018
- Treat people with respect and don’t discriminate based on their race, age, sexual orientation, gender, identity etc
- Stand up for the rights of people left behind, including sex workers, people who use drugs, gay men and other men, transgendered people, women and girls, migrants, etc
- Denounce Discrimination through social media and other platforms
- Write to your lawmakers to push for the reforms of laws that discriminate
- Remind your government that it has the obligation under international human rights law to ensure enjoyments of all human rights without discrimination