Zero Discrimination Day 2023: History, Significance, Theme

Zero Discrimination Day is observed on 1 March to promote inclusion, equality, peace and create awareness among people about their rights to live a peaceful life, discrimination and its impact on individuals, communities and societies.

The ultimate objective of celebrating this day is to launch a movement of solidarity at the international level to eradicate all forms of discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, disability and other factors.

Programs, workshops, seminars and educational programs are organized every year on Zero Discrimination Day globally to educate people about the adverse effects of discrimination around the world.


The day was first observed on 1 March 2014 after UNAIDS, a joint United Nations program on Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), launched its Zero Discrimination campaign on ‘World AIDS Day’ in December 2013. had started. Michel Sidibe, the then executive director of UNAIDS, launched the day in 2014 with a major event in Beijing.


Zero Discrimination Day is observed around the world to promote equality, inclusion and tolerance. Discrimination in any form deeply affects the individual. It also violates human rights, and creates barriers to access education, healthcare and job opportunities, which ultimately perpetuate poverty and inequality.

According to UNAIDS, “Criminalization fuels discrimination and structural inequalities. It denies people the possibility of healthy and fulfilling lives and it prevents the end of AIDS. We must end criminalization to save lives.”


Every year Zero Discrimination Day is celebrated under a special theme. The theme for this year’s Zero Discrimination Day is “Save Lives: Decriminalize”, which highlights how decriminalization of key populations and people living with HIV saves lives and helps advance the end of the AIDS epidemic. Is.

According to UNAIDS, 134 countries explicitly criminalize or prosecute HIV exposure, non-disclosure, or transmission; 20 countries criminalize or prosecute transgender people; 153 countries have criminalized at least one aspect of sex work, while 67 countries now criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity.

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