International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The world observes 21 March every year to commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa, when police opened fire on youth during a peaceful demonstration against apartheid laws, killing 69 people. In proclaiming this international day in 1966, the UN committed the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on ethnicity or colour.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Anti-Racism Summit was also held in Brussels on 21 March this year, bringing together experts, members of the diaspora and youth organisations to discuss ways and solutions to combat racism.
As part of the Action Plan against Racism, the European Commission had appointed an anti-racism coordinator, Michaela Moua, in 2021 for the first time in its history. She is to ensure that the member states take into account the relevant EU legislation and, if necessary, adapt it in their countries, but above all to adopt action plans to effectively combat structural and institutional racism in Europe. The Anti-Racism Summit provided further important impulses in this regard.
Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Co-Chair of the European Parliament's Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI), said with regard to Ukraine:
"The war must not silence us. In this climate of war, we are particularly concerned about the wave of racism faced by migrants, especially from the Maghreb, African countries and the Middle East, as they try to flee Ukraine and face racist discrimination. Their statements have been challenged or labelled as "fake news".
Some European countries bordering Ukraine refuse to allow certain people to cross their borders and enter their countries on the basis of their skin colour, religious or ethnic affiliation.
This attitude is unacceptable, shameful and violates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. All refugees must be treated equally. There must be no hierarchy between refugees. It is our duty to mobilise to stop racism everywhere in the world."