Human rights groups call to end stigma on Zero Discrimination Day 2022

Led by UNAIDS, Zero Discrimination Day is dedicated to celebrating diversity and taking action to end inequalities.

A pair of hands holding a red ribbon to mark Zero Discrimination Day 2022.
Image: Unsplash

Tuesday, March 1, marks Zero Discrimination Day 2022  across the globe and human rights groups are using their voices to call for an end to stigma and inequality.

To mark the occasion, President Higgins welcomed the Head of UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, to Áras an Uachtaráin. UNAIDS is the driving force behind Zero Discrimination Day and this year they’re promoting the message, ‘Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower’.

For Zero Discrimination Day 2022, UNAIDS are specifically calling for an end to inequalities faced by women.

“We are challenging the discrimination faced by women and girls in all their diversity where ever they are and raising awareness and come up with actions on promoting equality and empowerment for women and girls.”

UNAIDS acknowledge that, although progress has been made in many parts of the world, discrimination is still thriving globally.

“Intersecting with other forms of discrimination—based, for example, on income, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity—these rights violations disproportionately harm women and girls,” they said.

“Ultimately, gender inequality affects everyone’s health and well-being. In many countries, laws that discriminate against women and girls remain in force, while laws that uphold women’s basic rights and protect them against harm and unequal treatment are far from the norm.”

HIV Ireland are also marking the day by calling for an end to stigma, which they acknowledge is a huge obstacle in the battle against HIV.

“[Zero Discrimination Day] is an opportunity to celebrate everyone’s right to live a full and productive life with dignity – no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love,” they said in a statement on their website.

“The world is off track from delivering on the shared commitment to end AIDS by 2030 not because of a lack of knowledge, capability or means to beat AIDS, but because of structural inequalities that obstruct proven solutions in HIV prevention and treatment,” their website details.

To celebrate the occasion last year, the non-profit organisation published a report that seeks to educate media outlets and journalists on how to report on HIV responsibly. The report includes “up-to-date information on use of language, terminology, and key facts about HIV.”

“Everyone living with HIV knows that the history of media reporting on HIV and AIDS is littered with examples of factual inaccuracy, misinformation and homophobia,” said HIV Ireland, Executive Director, Stephen O’Hare.

“To facilitate improved reporting, we will be sending a copy of the guidelines to editors, journalists, media organisations and press oversight agencies throughout Ireland.”

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