The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.
In 1979, the General Assembly adopted a programme of activities to be undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On that occasion, the General Assembly decided that a week of solidarity with the people struggling against racism and racial discrimination, beginning on 21 March, would be organized annually in all States.
Since then, the apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled. Racist laws and practices have been abolished in many countries. We have built an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on Eliminating Racial Discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification, yet in all regions, too many individuals, communities and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.
Racism, xenophobia and related discrimination and intolerance exist in all societies, everywhere. Racism harms not just the lives of those who endure it but also society. We all lose in a society characterized by discrimination, division, distrust, intolerance, and hate. The fight against racism is everyone’s fight. We all have a part to play in building a world beyond racism. The superiority of humans is a sacred trust. Therefore, the world must ensure human equality and end discrimination and racism. The role of the United Nations and the rest of the world in ending racial racism is praiseworthy. It is encouraging to note that modern nation-states are not discriminating against other nation-states regarding racial superiority or inferiority. However, social behaviours need to be developed to ensure racial discrimination is not a virtue. It is more of a social recognization than anything else.
Pakistan also recognizes the menace of racial discrimination. It believes in the equality of humanity in state policies, internally and externally. The principles of policies enshrined in the constitution of Pakistan make sure that the foreign policy of Pakistan remains independent of racial discrimination. Then, the faith of Muslims also discourages any racial discrimination. Islam believes in the equality of humanity and imparts it to be reflected in the organizations of the state and society. Furthermore, it is encouraging for humanity that the epic body of the world makes sure that racial discrimination needs to end.