Zero Discrimination Day is annually observed across the globe on March 1 to promote equality and fairness before the law and to fight systemic and cultural discrimination against people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
- The day also aims to raise awareness about the inequalities that prevent people from living full and productive life and demand that governments fulfil their commitments and obligation to end all forms of discrimination.
Zero Discrimination Day 2023 is observed on 1st March 2023 under the theme “Save lives: Decriminalise”.
- The observance of Zero Discrimination Day is led by the UNAIDS (joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS.
To address the issue of global inequalities on the basis of gender, sex, age, education, ethnicity, religion, wealth, employment, disabilities, health condition, sexual orientation, and more.
The Symbol of Zero Discrimination Day is a Butterfly, widely recognized as a sign of transformation.
i. On 1st December 2013 (World AIDS Day), Zero Discrimination Campaign was launched by UNAIDS. Nobel Peace Prize winner and UNAIDS global advocate for Zero Discrimination Aung San Suu Kyi launched the “#zerodiscrimination” campaign for a global transformation.
ii. Michel Sidibé, then-Executive director of the Joint UNAIDS, launched Zero Discrimination Day at an event in Beijing, China, on 27th February 2014.
iii. The 1st ever Zero Discrimination Day was observed on 1st March 2014.
Zero Discrimination Day 2023:
i. UNAIDS is highlighting the importance of decriminalising some groups and HIV-positive individuals to save lives and help advance the AIDS pandemic’s end.
- Decriminalization is a critical element to end AIDS by 2030.
ii. Countries pledged that by 2025, less than 10% of countries would have punitive legal and policy environments that have an impact on the HIV response.
- This was done in recognition of the importance of decriminalisation in the response.
About the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS):
Executive Director- Winnie Byanyima
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Establishment- 1994 (started operation in 1996)