2023: Int’l Day to Eradicate Racial Discrimination

Australian Psychological Society

Today, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD), marks an important milestone 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The APS recognises that while the UDHR states that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any kind, such as race and colour, everyday racism and racial discrimination continue to affect people all over the world – and particularly in Australia.

Racism undermines many efforts to close the gap in health and other outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. Everyday racial discrimination could explain nearly half of the gap in psychological distress experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults, compared to non-Aboriginal Australians. The APS asserts that as a profession, as psychologists and as individuals, we must do more to address this.

We must take assertive steps to advance equality and combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and continue to build on the work that was done through the APS Black Lives Matter position statement, the Boatshed Racism Roundtable Declaration in 2009 and the APS Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 2016.

As psychologists, we have a professional and ethical responsibility to defend and uphold the social and emotional wellbeing of all people, providing equitable, effective, and accessible psychological services.

We invite all psychologists to stand together against racism and racial discrimination. We look forward to active changes in our training, research and practice going forward to better address this issue.

The United Nations General Assembly reiterates that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies. In its most recent resolution, the General Assembly also highlighted that any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous.

Seventy-five years ago, for the first time, the international community agreed on a set of common values and acknowledged that rights are inherent to every single human being and not granted by the State. These rights are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a blueprint for international human rights norms.

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960.

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