Background and history

On March 21, 1960, a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, was bloodily suppressed in response to a law on apartheid. Sixty-nine demonstrators, including eight women and ten children, lost their lives. Another 300 people were injured, some of them seriously. In response, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed March 21 as the “International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination” in 1966.

The appeal comes at a time when nationalism, right-wing populism and racist ideologies are once again gaining ground in Germany and internationally.

The racist rejection and devaluation of refugees, migrants and supposed “others” and “strangers” has become deeply entrenched in society and in all milieus. For people affected by discrimination and racism, this means that their human dignity is violated on a daily basis and that they are in constant danger of becoming victims of racist violence.