International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an initiative product of the United Nations General Assembly, decreed in 1966. It is celebrated every year on March 21 in the member countries, where the organization of a week to holding events to raise awareness about this problem.

What is Racial Discrimination?

Racial discrimination is all those actions that threaten equal treatment between people because of their skin color, origin or ethnicity. Currently there are multiple organizations, events, and institutions that fight against racism.

In many countries, this is a major problem, for this reason initiatives such as the declaration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination have emerged.

Origin of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly decreed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. They selected this date in commemoration of the victims in a peaceful demonstration in 1960, against the apartheid pass law in Sharpeville – South Africa. The police repressed the protesters with fire and at least 69 were killed.

With the declaration of this day, the General Assembly pressured the International Community to take real action to combat all forms of discrimination. In 1979, for the first time, a schedule of activities was approved to promote the celebration of the week of solidarity with the victims of racism and racial discrimination.

Since that tragic day in 1960, the apartheid system in South Africa was dismantled, racist laws and procedures have been eradicated in many countries. The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination has guided the creation of an international legal framework against this behavior in all its forms.

However, although the international community has made progress on this matter, it is also true that much remains to be done, individuals, groups and communities still suffer from racism.

Theme for the year 2021

Every March 21 a topic is chosen to emphasize the problem of racism in the world. For this year 2021 the theme was selected: “Youth rise up against racism”

This motto seeks to involve the general public through the development of an awareness of tolerance, equality and the fight against racism. The theme was selected due to the massive support that youth groups demonstrated at the 2020 “Black Lives Matter” marches around the world.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of discrimination and racism, especially in young people, has deepened. Because their access to education, employment opportunities and, in general, their role in public life have been affected. This has directly limited the individual and group empowerment that they had been achieving for some years.

Events related to Racial Discrimination

Just as there is this date to promote the fight against discrimination and racism, there are also other events around this issue such as:

  • The Week of Solidarity with the Peoples who fight against Racism and Racial Discrimination. This week begins on March 21 of each year.
  • 2011 was decreed as: The International Year for People of African Descent.
  • The International Decade for People of African Descent that began on January 1, 2015 and will culminate on December 31, 2024. Its theme focuses on recognition, justice and equitable development.

You may not see a direct impact or immediate improvement of the problem through these initiatives, however, they are very effective in raising awareness and getting the public involved in this fight.

In addition, it is important to remember that all human beings, even if they are not identical, are equal in terms of their rights and in this sense each individual must be respected, whatever their characteristics. Now that you know this international anniversary, support this noble cause against racism.

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)

In 1993, during the First Summit of the member countries of the Council of Europe, the creation of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) was agreed. A year later, it was born as an independent body in charge of fighting discrimination in all its forms: religious, political, sexual intolerance, xenophobia and racism.

What is the Council of Europe?

It is the oldest organization in relation to European integration, the common political and legal structure in Europe depends on it. It was established on May 5, 1949 and includes all European states with the exception of Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Vatican City.

Who makes up the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance?

It is made up of the 47 member countries of the European Council, each of which is represented by an expert in the area. Since 2017, its president is Jean-Paul Lehners. The period that the different positions can hold is five years, with the possibility of a renewal.

To be a member you must have high morale, as well as vast experience in the area of ​​discrimination and intolerance. They are completely independent figures both from the influence of the European Council and from their own governments. They must act according to their individual capacity and impartially in their decisions.

What is ECRI for?

Its mission is to ensure respect for the differences between citizens. To do this, it produces reports related not only to the social point of view, but also the economic and political point of view of each nation. This in order to provide constructive criticism to improve the situation of all groups, but in particular of the minorities that live in the country.

Observation of the Countries

To begin the preparation of the report, a delegation of experts from ECRI is appointed who will make a visit to the country. This must meet with various political, social and economic actors to have a global vision of the real situation of the nation in terms of inclusion, tolerance and respect.

As a result of its observation and analysis, ECRI generates detailed reports on the situation in which each country finds itself in relation to its treatment of minorities. These documents not only identify problems, but also provide strategies for making positive changes.

Actions of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

This commission carries out a series of additional activities with the publication of the country reports. These are mainly oriented to the dissemination of information to sensitize all citizens about the problem.

In this way, it is possible to attend events such as talks, seminars, round tables, where experts from various areas contribute their knowledge to advance in the construction of more equitable societies.

ECRI standards

As a complement to the reports by nations, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has general recommendations. In these publications it is possible to find suggestions to combat common situations in different countries.

For example, there are general recommendations on

  • Fight against anti-Semitism.
  • Development of a legal framework to combat discrimination and racism.
  • Intolerance and discrimination against Muslims.
  • Hate speeches.
  • Fight against racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance.

And many others. In general terms, these standards seek to build a general framework of inclusion, respect and tolerance, for all the countries of Europe.

The Commission maintains cooperative and supportive relationships with international organizations such as the European Union, the United Nations, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). All this for the fight against racism and intolerance on the continent.

Remember that all human beings deserve respect, equality and justice, It is part of the solution and not the problem to create a better world.

Racism in Europe, there is still much to improve

Racism in Europe has been around for decades, and while many organizations are trying to end discrimination, there is still a lot to improve on the continent. Therefore, stay in this article and learn how the fight against racist acts is carried out and which are the most influential human rights bodies today.

Fight against racism in Europe

Today, cases of discrimination can be observed in European countries, be it at work, at school and within families. Many Afro-descendant migrants and refugees face humiliation, harassment and abuse on a daily basis, causing governments to worry about how much improvement remains.

For this reason, to face the situation that began in 1945, the authorities of the Council of Europe have been in charge of adapting new rules to fight for the right to protection against racism.

However, it is known that laws alone are not enough to stop this trend, so initiatives and meetings have also been carried out to obtain lasting solutions and therefore better results.

All this in order that a better coexistence can be achieved and that all Europeans genuinely participate in the fight for human rights. In addition, large global campaigns and organizations have joined the movement, which is aimed at the general public, victims, and government officials.

What are the most serious cases of racism in Europe?

Among the most serious cases in Europe related to racism is the difficulty of obtaining a good job. Many Afro-descendant law students have stated that it is a difficult task to look for a job and that it is usually because of skin color.

In the same way, the Council of Europe conducted a survey, which determined that 5,000. Young Africans are stopped in the streets by police officers. In addition, in 2020 the Human Rights organization declared that Arab women and men had a greater chance of being arrested, compared to the rest of the population.

One of the most serious concerns is problems with studies, since 20% of young people between 18 and 24 years old cannot receive a higher education, due to racial discrimination.

Another problem that Afro-descendants face is the scarcity of basic services or their low quality. As well as the physical and verbal violence that they have been receiving for generations.

Bodies for the monitoring of human rights

There are many organizations that focus their functions on eliminating racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism that exist in the countries of Europe. One of them and perhaps the most relevant is the Commission Against Racist Acts and Intolerance. This seeks to reduce discrimination based on race, nationality, color, religion, language, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Likewise, there is also the European Network Against Racism and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union, which safeguard and promote the rights of all people of color residing in Europe.

It should be noted that the latest report by the European Week of Action Against Racism established that one in three people of color are abused on the street and two out of 4 individuals who complain stated that there was no improvement.

In this sense, it is essential that cases of racism are exposed in the European Court of Human Rights, since this institution seeks to provide the greatest possible security to citizens.

Finally, it is important to be clear that all human beings deserve respect and that regardless of the continent in which they were born, in which they live, the color of their skin, religion, political ideology, sex or sexual orientation, is an individual who has the same rights as others and should be treated as such. Join the world’s efforts against racism.

How do black people live in Germany?

Today, millions of black people in Germany have been shown to suffer from racism. The government and several foundations against xenophobia have devised an Afro-Census, to learn about the experiences of all Afro-descendants and change their reality, with the aim that they can have a dignified life. Therefore, below you will learn impressive data about how citizens of color live in the European country and what this new census is about.

Racism in Germany

Racism in Germany dates back to the time of National Socialism, because it has been shown that the factors of the Nazi period are still very present in the territory. When Hitler came to power, a large population of black people resided in the country, who were victims of Nazi crimes.

Likewise, the first great genocide of the 20th century is linked to Germany. Tens of thousands of black people were killed, causing many streets in the country to still keep their names in homage.

According to the Federal Agency for Discrimination, xenophobia in Germany has increased in recent years. The total number of incidents and complaints increases every day, just to say that in 2020, 20% of racist attacks were detected in the streets.

For this reason, activists against racial discrimination thought of implementing the first Afrocensus in Germany. This in order to identify those people who suffer today in the country, learn about their experiences and change them for better ones.

How is life for black people in Germany?

Many black people in Germany are victims of abuse and harassment on the streets, both physically and verbally. In addition, they have poor working conditions, as men and women of color are typically not accepted for positions as lawyers, police officers, teachers, managers, or any other client-oriented occupation.

Thus, they are not allowed to interact with the public, so they are forced to opt for jobs in restaurant kitchens or store bathrooms. This is because many other citizens do not want a person of color to serve them.

Racism has no age, gender or disability, from the young to the elderly suffer because of this trend. Skin color is an obstacle to living with dignity in Germany, Afro-descendant citizens cannot access decent housing, higher education or public services, causing a worrying scenario in the country.

What is the Afrocensus of Germany looking for?

According to estimates, more than 1 million black people live in Germany today, each of the men and women have the opportunity to enter the online survey and share their experiences.

The Afrocenso seeks to yield a percentage according to the abuses suffered by citizens. In this way, it will be possible to obtain the information necessary to deal with racism and develop inclusive public policies aimed at the well-being of the community.

Likewise, all black or Afro-descendant people will be identified to find out how much the figure of this population rises, where they are located and what their living conditions are. This is in order to spread the importance and pride of recognizing themselves as citizens.

Although multiple assemblies and meetings have been held to determine the best solutions and measures, there is still a long way to go before racism ceases to exist in Germany. However, foundations, activists and authorities have achieved important things and it is hoped that together with society, discrimination can be eliminated forever.

Around the world, there are many black people who suffer physical and verbal abuse as a result of racism, despite the evolution of the human being over time, history has shown that there is still a long way to go and many battles to win against this type of discrimination.