Access to justice

States should take further measures, by:

An inmate grasps the bars of an outside wall at the Penitentiary on which a mural of prisoners has been drawn
At the National Penitentiary of Haiti, 3,025 detainees live in cells built for less than 500. UN Photo/Victoria Hazou
Shackles used to bind slaves displayed at the Transatlantic Slave Trade multimedia exhibit at UN Headquarters. UN Photo/Mark Garten
  • Introducing measures to ensure equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;
  • Designing, implementing and enforcing effective measures to eliminate the phenomenon popularly known as “racial profiling”;
  • Eliminating institutionalized stereotypes concerning people of African descent and applying appropriate sanctions against law enforcement officials who act on the basis of racial profiling;
  • Ensuring that people of African descent have full access to effective protection and remedies through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions against any acts of racial discrimination, and the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination;
  • Adopting effective and appropriate measures, including legal measures as appropriate, to combat all acts of racism, in particular the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial hatred, violence or incitement to racial violence, as well as racist propaganda activities and participation in racist organizations; States are also encouraged to ensure that such motivations are considered an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing;
  • Facilitating access to justice for people of African descent who are victims of racism by providing the requisite legal information about their rights, and providing legal assistance when appropriate;
  • Preventing and punishing all human rights violations affecting people of African descent, including violence, acts of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, including those committed by State officials;
  • Ensuring that people of African descent, like all other persons, enjoy all the guarantees of a fair trial and equality before the law as enshrined in relevant international human rights instruments, and specifically the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to assistance of counsel and to an interpreter, the right to an independent and impartial tribunal, guarantees of justice, and all the rights to which prisoners are entitled;
  • Acknowledging and profoundly regretting the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of men, women and children as a result of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies, noting that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed, and calling on those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims;
  • Inviting the international community and its members to honour the memory of the victims of these tragedies with a view to closing those dark chapters in history and as a means of reconciliation and healing; further noting that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and calling on all those that have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so and, to this end, appreciating those countries that have done so;
  • Calling upon all States concerned to take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices, bearing in mind their moral obligations.

Special measures

The adoption of special measures, such as affirmative action, where appropriate, is essential to alleviating and remedying disparities in the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms affecting people of African descent, protecting them from discrimination and overcoming persistent or structural disparities and de facto inequalities resulting from historical circumstances. As such, States should develop or elaborate national plans of action to promote diversity, equality, social justice, equality of opportunity and the participation of all. By means of, inter alia, affirmative or positive actions and strategies, these plans should aim at creating conditions for all to participate effectively in decision-making and to realize civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights in all spheres of life on the basis of non-discrimination.

See the full text of the Programme of Activities (PDF format)