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Unite to Fight Discrimination
The world celebrates 1 March as Zero Discrimination Day and it’s time to use a chance to challenge discrimination, however and wherever it happens. It is an opportunity to come together against discrimination and celebrate everyone’s right to live a full and productive life with dignity. No one should be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their gender, gender identity, race, age, disability, ethnic origin, religion or language, health status or for any other reason.
“I think that the most important thing is to possess correct information. Very often when it comes to AIDS, many still believe that HIV can be transmitted by just touching a person or using shared pen. I always get involved in discussions in such cases and try to make sure I deliver the right facts, because frequently it is wrong information that sets people apart”, says Zarina(name changed), a sixteen-year-old girl living with HIV.
Discrimination can happen anywhere: at a health-care facility, at work, at school, at home or in the community. Discrimination doesn’t just hurt individuals or groups of people—it hurts everyone.
Discriminating against people on the basis of their race causes individual suffering and weakens social cohesion. Limiting girls’ and young women’s access to education not only harms individuals but prevents societies from benefiting from a deeper pool of talent. Stigmatizing people living with HIV discourages people from getting tested and receiving life-saving healthcare and treatment and inhibits efforts to end the AIDS epidemic.
“I live with HIV for 10 years already,” says Maksuda (name changed), 15 years old. “I am afraid to tell this to anyone because if people find out, it is very likely that they’ll change their attitude towards me. I am an activist and as a part of Zero Discrimination campaign I have made a presentation at my school. I told my classmates and teachers about cases when HIV can be transmitted by accident, and how people live with it for years. At the end of that class even my teachers admitted that they didn’t know a lot of what I told them about. So I suppose that the lack of knowledge is a big issue that causes discrimination. The least we could do is raise awareness and spread information.”
Everyone can take action to counter discrimination and encourage acceptance: stand up and speak up when something is wrong or someone is treated unfairly, raise awareness, support people who have been discriminated against and promote diversity and its benefits.
Zero Discrimination day – a chance to make a contribution to ending discrimination of any kind.