International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2024

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws. Proclaiming the day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is commemorated every year on the 21st of March by people all across the world in order to remove racial inequality among people of different countries, states, societies, or communities.

Many members of disabled soccer clubs in Port au Prince Haiti, live in a camp for displaced people especially disabled people.
Photo Logan Abassi UN/MINUSTAH


It was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to the international community as an international day for the elimination of racial discrimination in the year 1966 in order to remove all types of racial discrimination.

It is an official public holiday in South Africa to celebrate Human Rights Day on the 21st of March.

People worldwide commemorate this event every year to commemorate all those who died opposing Apartheid or fighting for democracy and equal rights in South Africa.

During the Apartheid regime of 1960, Sharpeville Massacre played a major role in establishing the 21st March as a public holiday.

The annual event raises awareness of equal Human Rights as well as highlighting all the racism that exists in sports throughout the world as well as raising awareness for equal Human Rights.

Aside from promoting harmonious development among men of different races, the Olympic Games also served to resolve social tensions and conflicts through sport.

For the elimination of racism and racial discrimination, the General Assembly launched numerous programs and activities in 1979. Apartheid was removed from South Africa after years of struggle, and in many countries, a variety of laws or practices supporting racism have been eliminated as well.


A variety of activities and events are organized while celebrating this event at the international level in many countries all over the world. UN leaders broadcast live from the UN headquarters on the day of celebration, identifying all their special activities against racism.

It provides a platform for young people to express themselves and fight racism and promote tolerance through this event.

Young people discuss human rights and the elimination of racial discrimination in a long debate on related topics. In addition to essay writing, photo exhibitions, and publishing-related articles, other activities are organized to promote awareness and involvement in racial discrimination.


  • > The theme for 2008 was “European Action Week against Racism 2008”.
  • > The theme for 2009 was “Respect for differences”.
  • > The theme for 2010 was “Put Racism Offside” and “Disqualify Racism”.
  • > The theme for 2011 was “Racism in Canada: Fact or fiction”.
  • > The theme for 2012 was “Racism and Conflict”.
  • > The theme for 2013 was “Racism and Sport”.
  • > The theme for 2014 was “Racism and Conflict” and “The Role of Leaders in Combating Racism and Racial Discrimination”.
  • > The theme for 2015 was “Learning from historical tragedies to combat racial discrimination today”.
  • > The theme for 2016 was “Challenges and achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action”.
  • > The theme for 2017 was “United Against Racism: Dignity and Justice for All”.
  • > The theme for 2018 was “Promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity, and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination”.
  • > The theme for 2019 was “Mitigating and countering rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies”.
  • > The theme for 2020 is “Recognition, justice, and development: The midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent”.
  • > The theme for 2021 is “Youth standing up against racism”.

Top 10 Racism Quotes:-

"Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome." Written by:- Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks in June 1999, when she was presented with a Congressional Gold Medal.

“Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.” Written by:- Rosa Parks

“Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.” Written by:- Alex Haley

“Racism and injustice and violence sweep our world, bringing a tragic harvest of heartache and death.” Written by:-Billy Graham

“Racism is beyond common sense and has no place in our society.” Written by:- Morrissey

“The word ‘racism’ is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything – and demanding evidence makes you a ‘racist.’ ” Written by:- Thomas Sowell

“You get racism crossing the street; it’s in the very fabric of American society.” Written by:-Nina Simone

“Racism is a sign of ignorance, in my opinion. It’s people who haven’t been anywhere, haven’t seen the world.” Written by:-Tyson Fury

“Racism is a much more clandestine, much more hidden kind of phenomenon, but at the same time it’s perhaps far more terrible than it’s ever been.” Written by:-Angela Davis

“Racism isn’t born, folks, it’s taught. I have a two-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list.” Written by:-  Denis Leary

“Racism springs from the lie that certain human beings are less than fully human. It’s a self-centered falsehood that corrupts our minds into believing we are right to treat others as we would not want to be treated.” Written by:- Alveda King

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March Social Events Date of Celebration
National Safety Day 4th March
International Women’s Day 8th March
Dandi March Day 12th March
World Kidney Day 11th March
Ordnance Factories Day 18th March
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 21st March
World Forestry Day 21st March
World Water Day 22nd March
Martyrs Day 23rd March and 30th January
World Meteorological Day 23rd March
World TB Day 24th March