UN creates platform for African descendants racially abused - The Naija Weekly

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

UN creates platform for African descendants racially abused




 Capping years of deliberations, the UN General Assembly on Monday established a new platform to improve the lives of African descendants, who had suffered racism, racial discrimination, and a legacy of enslavement around the globe for centuries.


The 193-member body unanimously adopted a resolution establishing the United Nations Permanent Forum of People of African Descent, a 10-member advisory body. It will work closely with the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.


The new forum would serve as a consultation mechanism for people of African descent and other stakeholders and contribute to the elaboration of a UN declaration – a “first step towards a legally binding instrument” on the promotion and respect of people of African descent.


Negotiations on the modalities of the permanent forum had been underway since November 2014, when the General Assembly officially launched the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).


Through the resolution adopted on Monday – which articulates the new body’s mandate for the first time – the Assembly expressed alarm at the spread of racist extremist movements around the globe while deploring the “ongoing and resurgent scourges” of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.


The move came just days after the Human Rights Council established a panel of experts to investigate systemic racism in policing against people of African descent, on the heels of a report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), prompted by the police killing of George Floyd in 2020.


High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet pointed to the “compounding inequalities” and “stark socioeconomic and political marginalisation” faced by Africans and people of African descent in many countries in the report and various public statements.


The report also noted that “no state has comprehensively accounted for the past or for the current impact of systemic racism” and calls for a transformative agenda to tackle violence against Afro-descendants.


The forum comprises five members nominated by governments and then elected by the General Assembly and five additional members appointed by the HRC.


(NAN)

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