March 2, Zero Discrimination Day

2 March 2017

 "1 March is Zero Discrimination Day. A day to celebrate diversity and recognize that every person counts.

The OSCE decided in Madrid in 2007 to take a comprehensive approach "to effectively combat all forms of discrimination." We jointly celebrate Zero Discrimination Day because we believe that promoting tolerance and respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms for all is central to the OSCE’s vision of comprehensive security with the inherent dignity of the individual at its core. This principle is firmly enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." It is also key to the effective implementation of our obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Governments must fight discrimination, and must ensure that they do not reinforce it by taking discriminatory action against members of any vulnerable group, or by introducing legislation that creates undue restrictions on the exercise by members of such groups of their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and freedom of religion or belief.

We reiterate our support for the work of all relevant OSCE structures, notably that of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, in close cooperation with civil society, to promote tolerance and non-discrimination towards all, foster the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by every person, and oppose hate crimes of any sort, directed against anyone.

In conclusion, we call upon all participating States of the OSCE to live up to their commitment to combat all forms of discrimination. Fundamentally, tolerance is built upon the recognition and full respect of the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, without distinction.

This year’s thematic is "Let’s make some Noise". Let’s then be "loud" and drown out the voices of hatred and discrimination! By joining our voices together, we can be part of a resounding call for human rights, openness and tolerance.

Thank you."

Delivered by San Marino on behalf of the following 47 participating States:

Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, the European Union and its member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and the United States of America