Bringing awareness to people around the world about discrimination and to recognize that many people are discriminated against because of their age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, race, ethnicity, language, health status, geographical location, economic status, migrant status or other reasons. In order to have a fair and equitable world, we need to stop discriminating based on who someone is or what they do.
Embrace, don’t discriminate. Zero Discrimination Day, March 1, is a celebration of human rights. It’s an awareness-raising day aimed at promoting tolerance, compassion, and change. The event is a move toward global solidarity in abolishing discrimination.
History of Zero Discrimination Day
The United Nations first observed Zero Discrimination Day on March 1, 2014, following the launch of the Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013 by UNAIDS, a UN program focused on combating the HIV/AIDS crisis. On March 1, UNAIDS pushes awareness on discriminatory laws, urging action to strike them down. Zero Discrimination Day is a call for equal dignity for all people. Discrimination can take many forms, ranging from religious or racial prejudice, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or a person’s health status. Laws in certain countries criminalize same-sex sexual relations and HIV non-disclosure, exposure, or transmission. Other laws restrict people's access to health services, keep pregnant girls out of school, and impose travel bans on people with HIV. On Zero Discrimination Day, UNSAID calls on individuals, civil society organizations, parliamentarians, and donor groups to take action to change these prejudiced laws.
More On Discrimination
29 countries require women to gain consent from a spouse or partner to access sexual and reproductive services
45 countries require by law that adolescents and young people under 18-years acquire parental consent to test for HIV
59 countries hold mandatory HIV testing for marriage, residence permits, work, or for certain groups of people
Data gathered from 19 countries shows that one in five people with HIV reported denial of health services (dental care, sexual/reproductive or family planning services)
17 countries criminalize transgender people
49 countries hold no specific law against domestic violence
Carrying condoms is a punishable offense in at least five countries
In 45 countries, sexual harassment legislation does not exist
112 countries do not criminalize marital rape
Same-sex sexual relations are punishable by death in at least eight countries
Ways To Observe Zero Discrimination Day
Zero Discrimination Day emphasizes how an individual or group can work to alter discriminatory laws.
Individuals can highlight these laws and counter them by posting zero discrimination initiatives on social media; be an ally and call out discrimination; demand change from human rights organizations; start a petition; or donate time, expertise, or money to reform organizations. Research anti-discriminatory donor and civil society organizations to see which is the best fit for you.
Discrimination limits our societal potential. We must strive to be better and understand the needs of our community neighbors.