UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations marked Human Rights Day Thursday, the 61st anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by stressing the still enduring need to eliminate all forms of discrimination. No country is free of discrimination, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a message for the Day whose theme this year is 'Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination. It may appear as institutionalised racism, as ethnic strife, as episodes of intolerance and rejection, or as an official national version of history that denies the identity of others. Discrimination targets individuals and groups that are vulnerable to attack: the disabled, women and girls, the poor, migrants, minorities, and all those who are perceived as different, he added, pledging UN commitment to fight inequality and intolerance wherever they are found. General Assembly President Ali Treki called for the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. Millions of human beings continue to fight a daily battle against discrimination to gain access to education, health services and decent work, he said. The realization of all human rights - social, economic and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights - is hampered by discrimination. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay deplored the fact that discrimination is still rampant 61 years after the Declarations adoption. Women work two-thirds of the worlds working hours and produce half of the worlds food, yet earn only 10 per cent of the worlds income and own less than one per cent of the worlds property, she said, also citing the discrimination that plagues ethnic, racial and religious minorities, refugees and migrants. UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova said this years theme is particularly pertinent since the world has become more diverse than ever before. It is only through mutual respect, understanding, constructive dialogue and acceptance of the right to be different that we will defuse tensions and build more peaceful multicultural societies, she stressed. In a joint statement the various independent experts who report to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council warned that efforts to end discrimination are falling short and progress is even being reversed in some instances. Globally, stronger commitments and more determined action are required if we are to defeat discrimination, they said. Our ethnic, cultural or religious differences should be acknowledged, valued and respected, not seen as a threat to our unity as they too often are, but as a celebrated component of it. At UN Headquarters in New York a special Human Rights Day event, entitled 'Race, Poverty and Power, is being held, as well as a panel discussion on opposing human rights violations on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In Geneva, women from 28 countries convened for a UN-backed symposium entitled The Courage to Lead: A Human Rights Summit for Women Leaders.