It’s the year 2020, and discrimination still affects millions of people everywhere, from workplaces and schools to hospitals. That’s why on March 1, every year since 2014, we get the chance to celebrate Zero Discrimination Day.
It’s about the celebration of diversity and the right to live a full and productive life with dignity no matter the gender, age, nationality, sexuality, skin color, ethnicity, profession, weight, height, belief, and education.
Human rights are violated everywhere due to discriminatory laws and practices, explains the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé. Even though every one of us should be treated with respect and dignity, that’s not always the case.
Many countries set travel restrictions against people with HIV+, others criminalize transgender people as well as relations between people of the same sex, and there are even countries that allow women access to reproductive and sexual health services only with consent from their husband or partner. And, that’s not all.
Some countries require mandatory HIV testing for work, marriage, and residence permits, while others impose the death penalty for drug offenses.
We may think that the world is now more connected thanks to the Internet and other technological advancements, but the truth is, people are still afraid of the unknown. They are still judging and discriminating against people.
But, excluding people won’t guarantee the right to health or end the AIDS epidemic. No one should be discriminated because of their age, HIV status, sexual orientation, sex, race, language, disability, ethnicity, geographical location, migrant status, etc.
Discrimination is usually based on fear of the different and unknown or misinformation, says UNAIDS. If we let discrimination continue, we will contribute to the downfall of our economy, communities, and future.
That’s why it’s crucial that we all take action to end it. Zero Discrimination Day is a chance to emphasize that everyone can be part of the transformation and contribute to a more just and fair society.
Zero Discrimination Day in 2020
This year, UNAIDS is dedicating this day to promoting equality and empowerment for girls and women. It challenges the discrimination they face every day instead of being celebrated for their diversity.
Some countries have made significant progress toward better gender equality. However, women and girls around the world are still discriminated. When these rights of violations are compared with other forms of discrimination, such as based on race, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or disability, we can see that they disproportionately harm women and girls.
In the end, gender inequality impacts the health and wellbeing of everyone. There are still many countries with laws that discriminate against women and girls. In the meantime, the laws that protect women and girls against unequal treatment and harm in these countries are still far from the truth.
Therefore, UNAIDS actively promotes Zero Discrimination Day with different activities to inform people about and how to promote compassion, inclusion, peace, and movement for change. This day is creating a global movement of solidarity with the purpose to stop all forms of discrimination.
On March 1, every year, we are encouraged to embrace and enhance diversity and acknowledge people’s various talents and competencies strengthening and enriching communities. If we accept and embrace diversity, we can only do good for our society.
In fact, we should celebrate Zero Discrimination Day every day.
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