Message by President of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir on Zero Discrimination Day
1 March 2021
75 years ago, at a time of great distrust, world leaders chose the path to unity over division. Coming together in recognition that there is strength in diversity, they created a multilateral system underpinned by the fundamental principles of equality and non-discrimination.
Yet today, discrimination continues to exist. Women continue to suffer from disproportionate burden of unpaid care, labour market segregation and gender pay gap. Girls are facing the grave risk of never returning to school in the middle of a gender digital divide.
We are living in an era of deepening inequalities, with 235 million people expected to require humanitarian assistance this year.
For those furthest behind, life has become even harder due to climate change, conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic.
I call on all Member States to meaningfully engage with those most vulnerable people.
We must ensure that pandemic response and recovery plans are grounded in rights-based approaches that meet the needs of those who are lagging behind.
In a world where millions of people lack access to essential healthcare services and vulnerable groups continue to experience much poorer health outcomes, we must prioritize the equal and fair distribution of vaccines for all.
On Zero Discrimination Day, I hope you will join me in re-committing to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, I quote, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
We each have a responsibility to call out discrimination when we see it. To amplify the voices of those who have experienced discrimination, uphold the dignity of each individual, and to advocate and legislate for a more equal, just, and safer world for all.