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Discrimination continues to undermine efforts to achieve a more just and equitable world and causes pain and suffering for many. Discrimination has many forms, from racial or religious discrimination to discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or age, and to bullying at school or at work.

The First day of March is a day to celebrate the right of everyone to live a full and productive life—and live it with dignity. On Zero Discrimination Day, 1 March, the highlights is on how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace and, above all, a movement for change. Zero Discrimination Day is helping to create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination.

Read more about other International Days

Zero Discrimination against Women and Girls

On Zero Discrimination Day this year, UNAIDS is challenging the discrimination faced by women and girls in all their diversity in order to raise awareness and mobilize action to promote equality and empowerment for women and girls.

Although some countries have made laudable progress towards greater gender equality, discrimination against women and girls still exists everywhere. Intersecting with other forms of discrimination—based, for example, on income, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity—these rights violations disproportionately harm women and girls. Ultimately, gender inequality affects everyone’s health and well-being. In many countries, laws that discriminate against women and girls remain in force, while laws that uphold women’s basic rights and protect them against harm and unequal treatment are far from the norm.

A Little from the Timeline

The day was first celebrated on March 1, 2014, and was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé on 27 February of that year with a major event in Beijing. In February 2017, UNAIDS called on people to ‘make some noise around zero discrimination, to speak up and prevent discrimination from standing in the way of achieving ambitions, goals and dreams.”

The day is particularly noted by organisations like UNAIDS that combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. “HIV related stigma and discrimination is pervasive and exists in almost every part of the world including our Liberia”, according to Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, Chairman of the National AIDS Commission of Liberia. The UNDP also paid tribute in 2017 to LGBTI people with HIV/AIDS who face discrimination. Moreso, a spotlight on HIV-related discrimination against women and girls states that every week, around 6000 young women aged 15–24 years become infected with HIV. That’s 860 every day.

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UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima has stated: “AIDS can be beaten, but it will only be beaten if we take on the social and economic injustices that perpetuate it and spur more scientific innovations to address the real needs of women and girls and people living with and vulnerable to HIV.”

Zero Discrimination Day Quotes

•The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.

•We are responsible for our own doings so if you ever discriminated with someone then it’s time you make amends to it on this Zero Discrimination day.

•On this eve of Zero Discrimination Day, let’s try to awaken our inner conscience and let it speak against a society that discriminates people.



Front Page Africa Online

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This article was first published on 1st March 2020 and updated on March 2nd, 2020 at 7:34 am


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

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