Today, March 21st, is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD).

This year’s theme, “A Decade of Recognition, Justice, and Development: Implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent,” is a powerful reminder of the ongoing fight for racial equality worldwide.

On this day in 1960, the Apartheid regime’s police opened fire and killed 69 Black people at a peaceful demonstration for equality and against apartheid laws in Sharpeville, South Africa. This date has since been declared the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The Principle of equality 

The prohibition of racial discrimination is enshrined in all of the United Nations’ core international human rights instruments. It places obligations on States and tasks them with eradicating discrimination in the public and private spheres. The principle of equality also requires States to adopt special measures to eliminate conditions that cause or help to perpetuate racial discrimination.

Ireland is a diverse, multi-ethnic and multinational society, where no one should be subjected to racial discrimination. However, according to the 2019 UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) report, as a Nation, we still have a long way to go when it comes to addressing discrimination and prejudice. There is growing evidence regarding the discrimination and racism experienced by minority communities in Ireland including people of African descent, and particularly women of African descent in Ireland. 

This year Wikimedia Community Ireland is taking part in Wear Red Day. This is an initiative led by the Immigrant Council of Ireland to encourage schools, workplaces and sports clubs to engage in anti-racism activities and to fundraise to provide crucial support for positive equality and pro-diversity work.

Advocating for Traveller Rights

Here in Ireland, we must acknowledge the persistent discrimination faced by our Traveller community. The CERD report highlights Traveller rights as a key area where Ireland is failing to meet its obligations.

According to The Irish Traveller Movement, Travellers experience systemic racism across areas such as:

  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Healthcare
  • Employment

We, at Wikimedia Community Ireland, stand in solidarity with Travellers and recognize the importance of dismantling these discriminatory structures.

Family in their decorated caravan en route to the Cahirmee Horse Fair at Buttevant, Co. Cork.
National Library of Ireland on The Commons, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

Resources and The Change Maker’s Toolkit

 “Our commitment to human rights and equality cannot be passive, it cannot be taken for granted, it must be earned through action.” Commission Member Salome Mbugua 2019 CERD report.

This IDERD, let’s not only raise awareness about the struggles of Travellers and other groups facing racial discrimination but also take action to promote positive change. Here are some ways you can get involved.

Educate Yourself: Utilize the following resources to learn more about :

  1. Irish Traveller Movement: provides a wealth of information about Traveller history, culture, and current issues.
  2. Irish Network Against Racism (INAR): is a national network of anti-racism civil society organisations which aims to work collectively to highlight and address the issue of racism in Ireland.
  3. MASI: is the collective Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, a platform for asylum seekers to join together in unity and purpose. MASI seeks justice, freedom and dignity for all asylum seekers.
  4. Pavi Point: is a national ngo comprised of Travellers, Roma and majority population that works at local, regional, national and international levels to address Traveller and Roma inequalities and promote human rights.
  5. AI Foward, Building Inclusive AI: Strategies for Training Against Racism

Support Organisations working towards combatting racism: Donate to or volunteer with organizations working to put an end to discrimination in Irealnd and supporting minority groups to advocate for their rights.

Challenge Discrimination: If you witness discrimination against Travellers or any other minority group, speak up and challenge it in a respectful and safe way.

Spread Awareness: Share reliable information reflecting the reality of racism in Ireland and efforts towards the elimination of racial discrimination. 

Become an Advocate: Equip yourself with the skills to advocate for social change. For example, you can complete training modules like The Changemaker’s Toolkit. Upon recognizing the challenge that limited access to knowledge poses for social change efforts, Wikimedia UK in collaboration with the Sheila McKechnie Foundation recently created this freely accesible resource. Their goal is to empower activists and campaigners to campaign effectively by making this online training resource accessible to all.

By working together, we can create a more just and equitable society for Travellers and all marginalized communities in Ireland. If you are an organisation working for social change in Ireland and interested in making your resources Open Source, please reach out. 




Categories: Blog