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Discrimination continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world and causes pain and suffering for many. Discrimination has many forms, from racial or religious discrimination to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or age, and to bullying at school or at work.

On 1 March, people around the world join together to celebrate 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.

On Zero Discrimination Day this year, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to take action against discriminatory laws. In many countries, laws result in people being treated differently, excluded from essential services or being subject to undue restrictions on how they live their lives, simply because of who they are. Such laws are discriminatory they deny human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

States have a moral and legal obligation under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights treaties, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international obligations to remove discriminatory laws and to enact laws that protect people from discrimination. Ending discrimination and changing laws is the responsibility of us all. Everyone can play a part in ending discrimination and can try to make a difference, in ways both big and small. The Zero Discrimination Day 2019 campaign challenges people to act against laws that discriminate in their country.

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.

Let us stand out! Embrace the diversity that exists around us, understand and accept people’s differences, open minds and respect and support one another.

Happy Zero Discrimination Day!