UN chief, others celebrate achievements of people of African descent

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UN chief, others celebrate achievements of people of African descent
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has celebrated the achievements and contributions of people of African descent from across the world.

Guterres, in a video message on Tuesday, called for more action to end racism and discrimination against the black.

The UN chief, who made the call while addressing the Permanent Forum of African Descent, acknowledged existing racial discrimination and inequalities Black people continue to face.

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He said the establishment of the Permanent Forum shows a dedication from the international community to address such injustices, noting that it needed to be backed by significant change for people of African descent globally.

“Now, we must build on that momentum to drive meaningful change – by ensuring that people of African descent enjoy the full and equal realisation of their human rights.

Also, by stepping up efforts to eliminate racism and discrimination – including through reparations, and by taking steps towards the full inclusion of people of African descent in society as equal citizens,” Guterres said.

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Nada Al-Nashif, praised the forum for its “formidable convening power” by meeting for a third high profile session less than two years after becoming operational.

She commended the forum’s planned 70 side events focusing on climate justice, education, health, and more for people of African descent, saying it shows a “remarkable effort, amplifying the reach and impact of our collective commitment”.

Al-Nashif urged Member States to participate in discussions and act on recommendations derived from them.

“Only then can we ensure that all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of people of African descent can be fully realized without discrimination or bias,” she said.

Al-Nashif said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, supports the extension of the International Decade for People of African Descent – a time proclaimed by the General Assembly in 2015 to focus on recognition, justice and development.

During the Permanent Forum, a conversation will be centred around achievement limitations and expectations of the requested second international decade.

“We look forward to the outcome of the discussions of this session; and we will be following the intergovernmental discussions in relation to the International Decade throughout this year,” Al-Nashif.

 

About the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent

On 2 August 2021, the General Assembly adopted its resolution 75/314, in which it formally operationalized the Permanent Forum as “a consultative mechanism for people of African descent and other relevant stakeholders as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent, as well as an advisory body to the Human Rights Council, in line with the programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent and in close coordination with existing mechanisms”.

The General Assembly had earlier decided, in its resolution 69/16 of 18 November 2014 entitled “Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent” to establish such a body.

The first session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent will be held from 5 to 8 December 2022, in Geneva.