March 1, 2018
by Juliette Beaulaton
Four years have passed since the first official celebration of the Zero Discrimination Day. Created in 2013 by UNAIDS, the UN program on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), this day celebrates the right of everyone to be free from discrimination.
Because of social structures, laws, widespread prejudices and individuals’ own personal bias, discrimination on all grounds continues to thrive. This day is a reminder of the work that still has to be achieved to tackle discrimination and ensure equality in its most substantive definition. Not only do we need to redress disadvantages and ensure that we give a voice to those being discriminated against, but also truly address and challenge prejudices and stigma to ensure structural changes. Discrimination needs to be exposed and understood, and the stories of those being discriminated against need to be told. The continued invisibility of many forms of discrimination, including multiple and intersectional experiences, prevents us from understanding the roots of the problem and effectively fight against it.
The work starts with every single one of us. Everyday, we need to listen, open ourselves to new stories and challenge our own bias and prejudices. We should never underestimate how powerful questioning our beliefs and intentions can be to foster change.
We therefore call upon our Governments to step up their efforts to collect and analyse data in regards to discrimination, including multiple and intersectional discrimination. Governments need to educate about and address openly discrimination, as well as ensure that national justice systems are equipped, both in terms of legislative corpus and resources, to deal with discrimination cases.
We call upon Youth Organisations, and pledge, as AEGEE, to promote equal rights for all and fight against discrimination. Youth Organisations play a central role in fighting against discrimination by questioning their own practice and creating a more inclusive and diverse society, free from prejudice. Youth Organisations need to build bridges, at a time when forces are attempting to fuel hatred between people.
We call upon every citizen to educate themselves, challenge any preconceived ideas we may have and open our eyes to both everyday and widespread situations of discrimination.
Take part today in the UNAIDS Campaign
- Take and share the Zero Discrimination Quizz
- Participate in the online campaign through the available communication material and the hashtag #ZeroDiscriminationDay