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Combating racism through sport

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International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination message

Today, 21 March 2013, in Australia we celebrate our diversity with Harmony Day, and focus on the message ‘everyone belongs’. Harmony Day coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. This year’s theme is ‘Racism and Sport’; a problem which continues to cause concern in many parts of the world, and at times here in Australia. The theme also highlights the positive role that sports can play in combating race discrimination. According to the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace, well-designed sport activities that incorporate the best values of sport – self-discipline, respect for one's opponent, fair play, and teamwork – can help integrate marginalized groups and teach individuals the values necessary to prevent and resolve social tensions and conflicts.

Here in South Australia, the Equal Opportunity Commission has recently entered a partnership with the Football United® program delivered by the University of South Australia. Football United® aims to foster social inclusion through football (soccer) programs for youth at risk, particularly in areas with high proportions of refugee, culturally and linguistically diverse, low socioeconomic status and indigenous children, youth and families. We will be partnering with Football United® to provide education to children about equal opportunity and their rights. You can find out more about the program here: http://www.unisa.edu.au/footballunited

More broadly, the Commission is working to locally implement the National Anti-Racism Strategy and has pledged support to the RACISM. IT STOPS WITH ME campaign. Find out more about the strategy and the campaign here: http://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/

Anne Gale
Commissioner for Equal Opportunity