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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2014 - The United Nations chief is calling on all people, especially political, civic and religious leaders, to strongly condemn messages and ideas based on racism, racial superiority or hatred as well as those that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In a message for the March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon held out late Nelson Mandela, the former South African President, as a model in this, commending his courageous struggle against apartheid and his inspiring victory over the racist forces that had imprisoned him for 27 years.

This year’s observance of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was on “The Role of Leaders in Combatting Racism and Racial Discrimination". In 1979, the UN established the annual observance in commemoration of the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa, in which police killed 69 people and injured many more. In his message, Ban observed that “Nelson Mandela’s journey from prisoner to President was the triumph of an extraordinary individual against the forces of hate, ignorance and fear – and it was a testimony to the power of courage, reconciliation and forgiveness to overcome the injustice of racial discrimination.” Mandel symbolically chose Sharpeville for the historic signing of South Africa’s new Constitution in 1996. The UN chief urged all to resolve and tackle racial discrimination through dialogue inspired by the proven ability of individuals to respect, protect and defend our rich diversity as one human family. (Source: UN)


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