Discrimination remains as an issue today as gender, nationality, age, ethnic-origin and sexual orientation are, unfortunately, still the root-causes for some form of discrimination. Only four out of ten countries worldwide do have equal numbers of girls and boys attending secondary school and 75 countries have laws that criminalise same-sex sexual relations.
Zero Discrimination Day is a global event that joins all national, regional and international efforts against discrimination and promotes diversity as well as inclusion. The United Nations firstly celebrated Zero Discrimination Day on the 1st March 2014, after UNAIDS, through its program on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), launched Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.
Celebrated on the 1st of March every year, it aims to draw attention to the millions of minors who still suffer from social and economic exclusion due to prejudice and intolerance. Many women and girls in every region of the world, for instance, experience violence and abuse on a daily basis and struggle to access adequate health care and education.
Discrimination in health-care settings also continue to be widely reported. Cases, such as: a young woman newly diagnosed with HIV being told by her doctor that she must be sterilized, a sex worker who has been denied to access any advice or information about their sexual health, a gay man frightened of disclosing his sexual preference to medical staff, an over-dosed drugs-abuser who is dying after being refused for treatment and a transgender person attempting suicide after being turned away from a clinic, are some of the scenarios and indicators of more efforts are required towards the attainment of Zero Discrimination.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), understand that discrimination is a violation of human rights and must be addressed with an extensive approach. We acknowledge that Zero Discrimination Day is an opportunity to celebrate everyone’s right and pride, especially young people, in order to assure full and productive life for all without any forms of exclusion and segregation. Indeed, it is a day to call everyone in promoting and supporting diversity, tolerance and inclusion as well as standing together against discrimination.
Since our establishment, we channel young people’s voice against discrimination and their initiatives to spread awareness within their networks. Therefore, we encourage young people to carry on their fight to defend justice and respect diversity as pertinent asset of unification. Let us all be part of this transformation and stand out for fair, equal and just societies and strongly commit to upholding human rights and dignity for all.
Happy Zero Discrimination Day!