NEWS CENTRE

BE AWARE: racism and access to safe water

The Institute Justice Committees invite readers to consider the importance of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, and International World Water Day on March 22. Do you know the percentage of Australians born overseas? Do you know that more than one in six people worldwide, 894 million, don’t have access to safe freshwater?

Saturday March 21
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid "pass laws". Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

Australian Human Rights Commission
Almost one half of all Australians were either born overseas or had a parent born in another country. Our country is also home to the world’s oldest continuing culture.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
Each year, UNESCO puts together a rich programme to mobilise its diverse partners, with the aim to sensitise the public of the dangers represented by the current rise of racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Sunday March 22
World Water Day
The international celebration of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The General Assembly of the United Nations designated 22 March of each year as the World Day for Water by adopting a resolution. In 2009, the theme for World Water Day is "Shared Water – Shared Opportunities".

UN Water

International Decade for Action "Water for Life" 2005 – 2015

Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target
One person in six – more than 1 billion of our fellow human beings – has little choice but to use potentially harmful sources of water. The consequences of our collective failure to tackle this problem are dimmed prospects for the billions of people locked in a cycle of poverty and disease. In adopting the Millennium Development Goals, the countries of the world pledged to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Contact: Carmel Heagerty RSM, Institute Justice Co-ordinator
Email: Institute.Justice@mercy.org.au