World urged to practice "compassion" ahead of Zero Discrimination DayListen /
People across the world are being asked to practice tolerance and compassion towards each other in the lead up to Zero Discrimination Day, observed on 1 March.
UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé made the call from Beijing, China, where he launched the Day with the support of the China Red Ribbon Foundation.
Also there to support the cause were private businesses, local authorities, civil society and celebrities.
The event ended with more than 30 business leaders signing a pledge to eliminate discrimination in the workplace. Similar events are being planned in other countries around the world.
According to UNAIDS, fear of discrimination is considered to be a major obstacle to access HIV testing, treatment and care services, particularly amongst marginalized populations.
Across China, people living with HIV are excluded from employment in many sectors, including the country's civil service.
An ILO study conducted in China in 2011 found that 65 per cent of business owners felt that people living with HIV should not enjoy equal employment opportunities.
Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.