International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2016

© World Bank / Dominic Chavez

Challenges and Achievements of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action – 15 years after        

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

In 2016, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is marked by the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in 2001.

  We all have a role to play, each at our respective levels, in combating racism.  

Irina Bokova
UNESCO Director-General

Racial discrimination divides and kills. It impedes peace between States and undermines social cohesion within increasingly diverse societies. Sectarian ideologists rely on hatred of the other to carry out large-scale ethnic and cultural cleansing. Racial and religious-based slavery persists and is escalating in too many countries around the world. The historic refugee crisis serves as a pretext to foster prejudices and to foment rejection of others.

A black girl looking through a window of her hut in Cross Roads (South Africa)

© UN Photo / P Mugabane

We need more than ever to redouble efforts at the global level to build the defences against racism and intolerance in the minds of every individual and within common institutions.

To counter this evil, which feeds on ignorance and a hatred of others, UNESCO promotes global citizenship education and develops tools and expertise capable of enhancing mutual understanding, critical thinking and intercultural dialogue. The Slave Route Project raises awareness of the history of slavery and sounds the alarm about the resulting perceptions and forms of discrimination. Initiatives such as the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022) and the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) are powerful platforms for adding depth to the dialogue to strike down racial prejudice. The International Coalition of Cities against Racism, launched by UNESCO, forms a network for debate and action to strengthen public policies and programmes to combat exclusion. In that same spirit, UNESCO has just launched a report on racism and discrimination in international football, which offers examples of best practice to disseminate in the world of sport.

Racial discrimination, which can be brutal and wide-ranging, is sometimes embodied in iniquitous laws. It can also insidiously, silently, deprive people each day of their basic rights to employment, housing and a social life. We all have a role to play, each at our respective levels, in combating racism. On this day, I call on Member States, civil society organizations and citizens to raise their voices and act to eliminate racial discrimination, as that is the sine qua non for building more inclusive, more tolerant and, hence, stronger and more sustainable societies.

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International Coalition of Cities against Racism

The International Coalition of Cities against Racism is an initiative launched by UNESCO in March 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion.

More information on the Coalition

Contact UNESCO: shs.publicpolicies(at)unesco.org

Publication

 

   Colour? What colour?
   Report on the fight against
   discrimination and racism in football



   Authors
   Albrecht Sonntag
   David Ranc

   Under the coordination of UNESCO and
   with the support of Juventus, the report
   takes stock of what has been done
   and is being done against racism
   and discrimination in sport.

Colour? What colour? Report on the fight against discrimination and racism in football


International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024