Racial discrimination divides and kills; it hinders peace and destabilises social unity within increasingly diverse societies. It can be brutal and wide-ranging, which sometimes is embodied in dissolute laws. It can also insidiously, silently, deprive people’s daily basic rights to employment, housing and a social life. We all have a role to play, each at our respective levels, in combating racism.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established six years after an event, known as the Sharpeville tragedy or Sharpeville massacre, which captured worldwide attention. This event involved police opening fire and killing 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against the apartheid “pass laws” in Sharpeville, South Africa on March 21, 1960.