In 2015, the observance day is highlighting the importance of preserving the historical memory of past human rights tragedies, including slavery, apartheid, colonialism and genocide, which have led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.
Ahead of the day, the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said: “We must learn the lessons of history and acknowledge the profound damage caused by racial discrimination.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the launch of the International Decade for People of African Descent.
“In the past fifty years, there has been progress in the fight against racism and racial discrimination. We have seen the end of colonialism, the dismantling of apartheid and the rise of a global movement for equality. Yet, as history and current events attest, racial discrimination still presents a clear danger to people and communities in all regions.”
In Europe, over 100.000 people, including the football family, will mark the action day and host events also as part of the International Weeks Against Racism.
Overview of activities across Europe:
Over the weekend, the Belgian FA partner Football+ Foundation will hold its anti-homophobia workshop and rainbow laces campaign at a number of grassroots clubs as part of their campaign ‘Football 1 : Homophobia 0‘ launched in February 2015.
On Thursday 19 March, the German government, DFB, Bundesliga launched a nation-wide campaign to challenge discrimination and promote the inclusion of refugees in Germany. The campaign is seeking to engage grassroots and professional clubs, NGOs, educational institutions and local governing authorities to foster a welcoming culture for refugees in Germany.
Over the weekend, matches of the second and third Bundesliga will promote the campaign, as well as the women’s Bundesliga and men’s national team encounters on Wednesday 24 March.
Moreover, several premier league clubs have also engaged in the International Weeks Against Racism initiative.
Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund have launched a campaign named ‘No beer for racists‘ after a rise in hostility against immigrants in Germany. As part of the campaign 1 million coasters were distributed across the city’s restaurants and bars, helping the campaign reach the places were “football is experienced most intensely outside the stadium” and spread the word that “Borussia, beer — and Nazis? That does not fit!”.
In the city of Halle, as part of the ‘Education Week 4‘, a series of cultural activities will discuss racism. A football tournament under the same theme will be held for local primary schools.
As part of the International Weeks Against Racism Fare member Liikkukaa organised a debate on racism and immigrants’ rights in Finland. A football tournament was also held as part of the initiative.
On 15 March, in the Greek island of Kos a Youth Sports Festival will engage over 100 children in sporting activities, namely football, basketball and tennis, promoting a message of inclusion. The event is aiming to be the first youth-driven sports festival against racism in the country.
On 21 March, the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland will organise in Dublin a football tournament to promote a cultural exchange.
The social media initiative #TweetOffRacism is using both the Weeks Against Racism and the UN action day to raise awareness of racial discrimination through Twitter. The Serie A club Cagliari Calcio and their players have already showed their support to the initiative.
The Associazione Nessuno Fuorigioco and Fare partner UISP will host a day-long conference on 20 March named ‘Play with us, We are not afraid of you‘ which aims to promote equal and fair access to sport in Italy, also calling on the Italian FA to change their legislation on the topic.
In Turin, between 25 and 27 March, a cultural and sporting initiative, supported by the Fare member Balon Mundial, will discuss the issues around democracy and migrants’ rights in Italy.
On 12 March, the NGO Onderhuids organised a discussion in Amsterdam to address racist incidents in football, the exclusion of ethnic minorities and the role of the media in addressing the problem.
Fare member Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation in partnership with the Romanian Football Federation and the National Council Against Discrimination, will organise a football championship and an All Stars match to mark the International Day for the Elimination.
Over 50 children, aged between 5 and 17, from poor and marginalsed communities of Bucharest, will join famous football players and address anti-Roma discrimination.