21 March: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Le 21 mars, nous célébrons la Journée internationale pour l’élimination de la discrimination raciale. Pour le Vice-Premier Ministre et Ministre des Affaires étrangères Didier Reynders, ce sujet reste plus que jamais d’actualité.
21 March is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. For Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders, this topic remains more relevant than ever.
Racism and other forms of discrimination based on nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religion unfortunately still exist in all societies in the world. A reinforced engagement in the fight against discrimination is an important weapon against resurgent extremism. The protection of democratic values and universal human rights, the reinforcement of the rule of law, and respect for tolerance and dialogue, are effective means to deal with differences in our societies – which hate and exclusion certainly are not.
In 2001, in the South African city of Durban, UN Member States reached for the first time a broad agreement on a Declaration and Action Plan on combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. During this conference, and ever since, Belgium has constantly been at the forefront in the fight against racism. With the adoption of the new 2030 UN agenda for Sustainable Development, the international consensus has been further strengthened. Discrimination based on color, race, origin, nationality or ethnic origin is contrary to the Belgian development agenda and to our internal policy. In the Human Rights Council, our country has proposed to strengthen the cooperation between the United Nations system and regional human rights institutions, such as the Council of Europe or the African Union, in the fight against discrimination.
Didier Reynders also attaches great importance to the coherence between our foreign and domestic policy. In the context of the Human Rights Council, our country was invited by many delegations to elaborate a National Action Plan against racism. The Minister is committed to making all efforts toward the realization of such an Action Plan, in consultation with all relevant national stakeholders, including the federal, regional and community authorities.