The United Nations in South Africa will join South Africans in commemorating Human Rights Day on Thursday, 21 March 2019 in Sharpeville and participate in the Human Rights Festival at the Constitution Hill in Johannesburg. The day is of special importance to the UN and the global community as it also marks the International Day for the Elimination for Racial Discrimination, which was adopted in honour of the victims who lost their lives in the Sharpeville massacre in 1960.
The massacre became the face of the apartheid regime and led to the adoption of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid in 1962 which later lobbied and campaigned for sanctions to be imposed against apartheid South Africa.
The theme of this year's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March) is, “Mitigating and countering rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies.”
Racist extremist movements based on ideologies that seek to promote populist, nationalist agendas are spreading in various parts of the world, fueling racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, often targeting migrants and refugees as well as people of African descent.
In its recent resolution on eliminating racism adopted on 22 December last year, the United Nations General Assembly reiterated that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies.
The UN look forward to commemorating this day with South Africans to remind people of the fight against apartheid and how far the country has come in the fight against racial discrimination.
For media interviews:
WHO: Ms Abigail Noko, the head of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in South Africa through Zeenat Abdool
WHERE: Sharpeville, Thursday morning, and Constitution Hill Thursday afternoon.
WHEN: Thursday, 21 March 2019