Zero discrimination Day 2021
Zero Discrimination Day is an annual day celebrated on 1 March each year. It is observed and celebrated by United Nations (UN) and other international organisations. It is aimed to promote equality before law and practiced throughout every member countries of the UN. It is aimed to highlight the urgent need to take action to end the inequalities surrounding income, sex, age, health status, occupation, disability, sexual orientation, drug use, gender identity, race, class, ethnicity and religion that continue to persist around the world.
It is observed that inequality is creeping into more than 70% of the world population. It has ugly consequences on economic development and social development. In the current context, such inequality is vividly seen in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Many have compared the situation with vaccine apartheid.
The symbol for Zero Discrimination Day is the butterfly, widely used by people to share their stories and photos as a way to end discrimination and work towards positive transformation.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, in her message on Zero Discrimination Day 2021 encouraged to end inequalities and demand zero discrimination. In her message, she also conveyed to remain resolute in saying no to all inequalities—whether because of gender, income, race, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion. Such inequalities disfigure society and undermine justice and dignity. She further stated that discrimination kills. It exacerbates emergencies and it perpetuates pandemics.
It is also requested to participate in Zero Discrimination Day by shining a light on inequalities and doing your part in helping to address them.
History of Zero Discrimination Day
The UN first celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, 2014, after UNAIDS, a UN program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013. Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, while being part of the day commented
“People who discriminate narrow the world of others as well as their own. I believe in a world where everyone can flower and blossom”
UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé launched the Zero Discrimination Day on 27 February with a major event in Beijing, China. Similar events were planned for the days leading up to 1 March 2014 in countries around the world.
In February 2017, UNAIDS urged people to make some noise around zero discrimination, to speak up and prevent discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals, and dreams.