International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination

IMO has joined other UN agencies in marking the annual International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March). The theme of the Day in 2023 focuses on the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination. This year sees the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which enshrines a set of common values and acknowledges that rights are inherent to all human beings and are not granted by the State. 

In a statement to mark the day, Secretary-General of IMO, Mr. Kitack Lim, highlighted the establishment in 2020 of the Racial Equality and Equity Cross-Divisional Working Group within the IMO Secretariat. Its work culminated in the adoption in 2021 of the Racial Equality and Equity Strategy and Action Plan 2020-2030. 

Calling for everyone to be empowered to build societies that are free from discrimination, Mr. Lim said: 

“Within the IMO family, we must all stand up for a diverse, tolerant and respectful work environment, where each of us can enjoy equality and equity. We all have the power to advocate for anti-racism”.

As part of IMO’s commitments to raising awareness on racial equality and equity through engagement with experts, the organization invited Dr. Yewande Austin, United Nations antiracism expert and honorary United States Cultural Ambassador to IMO Headquarters to deliver a lecture to staff and delegates. 

Speaking on the theme “Antiracist Leadership”, Dr. Austin described the mission to combat racism as “more urgent than ever before”. 

She went on: “We know what to do to end inequities…but racism still exists”. 

Dr. Austin spoke about the need to integrate the principle of racial equity within every policy of an organization and she recommended using a “REAL” approach: Representation; Education; Accountability; Leadership. 

Read the Secretary-General’s full statement on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination here

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