Articles & Publications
People of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean: Developing indicators to measure and counter inequalities
Issued by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)/Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), People of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, the publication helps States and all those involved in following up on the 2030 Agenda with regard to Afrodescendants and the International Decade. It contains a set of indicators to measure ethnic and racial inequalities and gaps between Afrodescendent and non-Afrodescendent populations.
In early 2010, some of Africa’s renowned salsa vocalists joined forces with New York–based musicians to form Africando, a group that successfully brought African-flavored salsa to the global music market. Growing up in Benin, Angélique Kidjo, now an internationally acclaimed artist and another UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, felt a strong connection to salsa.
In Washington, D.C., in September 2018, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo declared and formally launched the “Year of Return, Ghana 2019” for Africans in the Diaspora, giving fresh impetus to the quest to unite Africans on the continent with their brothers and sisters in the diaspora.
For centuries, unfinished materials for clothing manufacture—silk, cotton, hides—have been sold and shipped from Africa to the fashion capitals of the West, such as London, Paris and New York. Now an ambitious startup called the Walls of Benin, led by 30-year-old Chi Atanga, a man of Cameroonian descent born in Manchester, England, seeks to break with history by building factories in Africa that make sleepwear and loungewear—comfortable casual clothing that is stylish and sophisticated, suitable for “all night raves, boats, trains and jet planes,” according to the company’s website.
Xiaobei, also known as ‘Little Africa’, is in the central neighborhood of Guangzhou, China’s megacity, where the Oversea Trading Mall is the main attraction for thousands of sub-Saharan African traders in search of good value merchandise. Until about three years ago, Xiaobei bustled with business activity. Wholesale traders from sub-Saharan Africa regularly streamed in. But fast-forward to 2016, and Little Africa is losing its shine.
According to 2014 estimates, more than 3,000 African-Americans and people of Caribbean descent live in Ghana, a country of about 26 million people. Whatever their motives, Ghana, the first sub-Saharan Africa country to shake off colonial rule 58 years ago, has become the destination of choice for diasporans looking for a spiritual home and an ancestral connection in Africa.
The present publication provides an overview of the types of racial profiling experienced by people of African descent, the applicable international legal framework, actions taken by international human rights mechanisms and documented examples of good practices for addressing racial profiling.
1 November 2018 -- The programme of activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent requested States to consider the elaboration of a draft UN declaration on the promotion and full respect of human rights of people of African descent. Discussions on such a draft declaration have now started.
10 October 2018 -- The 3 October screening of the blockbuster "Black Panther" film at UN Headquarters -- under the banner of the International Decade for People of African Descent -- attracted large crowds and featured production designer Hannah Beachler, who explained how she and her team created the fictional African country of Wakanda.
4 April 2018 -- Recalling the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago today, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres urged the world to build on the civil rights leader’s work for equality and social justice.
There needs to be a “massive global coalition of conscience” to enshrine the values of racial equality and human rights for all, declared civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking at the United Nations in March 2018.
Participants from Europe, Central Asia and North America gathered at the United Nations Regional Meeting on the International Decade for People of African Descent in Geneva on 23-24 November 2017 to explore ways to combat racial discrimination and to ensure effective promotion and protection of the human rights of people of African descent.
Women and girls of African descent face intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination. This publication, based on the latest report of the Secretary-General on the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, contains an analysis of the findings of international human rights mechanisms in select areas, in order to illustrate how discrimination against women and girls of African descent is manifested. It also highlights good practices and recommendations for the realization of the rights of women and girls of African descent.
To mark Black History Month in the United States, the contributions of people of African descent were the subject of a discussion and screening of the film, Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora, on 8 February 2018 at UN Headquarters. The event was organized by the UN Remember Slavery Programme, and the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024.
A state of invisibility coupled with everyday racial discrimination faced by people of African descent exacerbates their suffering and hinders their legitimate quest for equality, a group of UN human rights experts said after visiting Spain.
Major deficiencies in the justice and prison systems in Guyana, including a jail not fit for human habitation, are having a disproportionate impact on people of African descent, a group of UN human rights experts has said after visiting the country.
Opal Tometi is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, an international activist movement that campaigns to promote and protect human rights and dignity of Black people. She was recently in Geneva, Switzerland to participate in the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent’s 20th session and civil society consultations. She took some time to chat with the UN Human Rights Office about why international human rights mechanisms are important in the fight against racism.
27 February – People of African descent in Germany suffer racial discrimination, Afrophobia and racial profiling in their daily lives, but their situation remains largely invisible to the wider society, a United Nations expert panel said today at the end of its first official visit to the country.
21 October 2016 – A group of United Nations human rights experts today expressed serious concerns about systemic anti-Black racism in the criminal justice system in Canada.
8 July 2016 – United Nations officials today spoke out against recent violence in the United States which has left several people dead, expressing both outrage and condemnation over the killings, and highlighting the need for more to be done to fight discrimination.
30 June 2016 – The international community must increase its commitment to fighting Afrophobia and discrimination against people of African descent, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador and actor Danny Glover has said, speaking during the International Decade for People of African Descent.
Distressed over reports of violence against people of African descent in Colombia, a United Nations expert panel has called on the authorities to take concrete and urgent measures to protect the country’s Afro-Colombian communities.
Did you know that India and Africa have a shared history in music, religion, trade, arts and architecture? An exhibit titled “Africans in India: From Slaves to Generals and Rulers,” on display at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8 February to 30 March 2016, explores that history. The exhibit was organized by the UN Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme and presented in partnership with the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.
UN experts urge US to address legacies of the past, police impunity and ‘crisis of racial injustice’
The legacy of slavery, post-Reconstruction ‘Jim Crow’ laws and racial subordination in the United States remains a “serious challenge” as there has been no real commitment to recognition and reparations for people of African descent, a United Nations expert panel said in Washington D.C. on 29 January 2016, at the end of its second official visit to the country.
This brochure was produced to accompany a exhibit at UN Headquarters in January 2016. It provides a brief overview of the background, objectives and activities of the Decade.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, saying he was struck by the “enormity of the task” over the next decade to reverse five centuries of discrimination against the 150 million people of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, has urged the region to draw on “the untapped potential in hitherto invisible communities.”
With a foreword by the Secretary-General and an introduction by the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Inteview with Sam Kutesa, President of the United Nations General Assembly’s sixty-ninth session
Ghana is the first African country to open its doors to people of African descent from all over the world – but bureaucracy takes a toll.