International Day for the Elimination of Racism

The NWT Human Rights Commission is committed to the principles of equality, justice, and dignity for all. March 21st is International Day Against Racial Discrimination. Our societies are still afflicted by racial prejudice which can lead to discrimination. Prejudice is a belief that is often based on misinformation or negative stereotypes. Racial prejudice can often be a result of ignorance. Taking time to learn more about the many different cultures that make up our communities can help overcome prejudice and reduce discrimination.

Under the NWT Human Rights Act there are a number of grounds that are related to racial discrimination:

    1. Race: A way people are often categorized based on physical characteristics like skin colour, facial features, or hair type. It doesn’t have a scientific basis; it’s more about how people are perceived.
    2. Ethnic Origin: This refers to your cultural identity and background. It includes things like traditions, language, and shared history that connect a group of people. Examples of Ethnic origins would be Inuit, Dene, British, and Malays.
    3. Nationality: The country to which a person belongs, often associated with citizenship. It’s about being a member of a specific nation. Examples would be Canadian, Mexican, Guatemalan, and Sudanese.
    4. Ancestry: Your family’s heritage and where your ancestors come from. It’s about tracing your roots and understanding your familial background.
    5. Place of Origin: The specific location where a person is from or where they were born. It could be a city, town, or even a country. In the North, place of origin could refer to the region you are from such as the Beaufort Delta, or the South Slave Region, for example.
    6. Colour: Generally refers to the colour of a person’s skin.

Understanding the distinctions between these protected grounds can help us raise awareness about the many ways racial discrimination can occur. It can also help us dismantle categories by creating education programs that can address prejudice.

We believe in the inherent worth and equal rights of every individual, irrespective of their race, ethnicity, or cultural background. On this day, we ask that you take time to learn about your neighbours, attend multicultural events, and learn more about the 168 unique cultures that make the NWT home. This is one way we can work together to eradicate racial prejudice and discrimination in all its forms.

It is important that we encourage understanding, celebrate diversity, and promote inclusivity to build a world where every person can live free from discrimination. By working together to dismantle systemic racism and promote education and awareness, we can create a future where human rights are universally respected, and where every individual can thrive without fear of discrimination.

This post is also available in: French