Human Rights

Human Rights council holds interactive dialogue with the working group of experts on people of African descent

The Human Rights Council this morning held a clustered interactive dialogue with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. It also concluded its general debate on the follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

Presenting the Working Group’s report, Sabelo Gumedze, Chairperson of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, stressed that the Working Group advocated prioritizing programmes specifically tailored to combat structural racism and racial discrimination against people of African descent. It was necessary to intensify the efforts deployed in improving the protection of the rights of people of African descent. Member States were urged to reach consensus so a forum on the sources of racism and reparatory justice could be held. Mr. Gumedze then presented the main findings following the Working Group’s visits to Canada and Germany.

Canada and Germany spoke as concerned countries.

The German Institute for Human Rights also took the floor.

In the interactive discussion, delegations shared the assessment that the Sustainable Development Goals and the Decade of People of African Descent presented unique opportunities for the adoption of concrete measures to promote the human rights of people of African descent, particularly of women and children. Several speakers stressed that the special nature of discrimination faced by people of African descent called for specific actions and policies, including comprehensive mechanisms aimed at combatting colonial legacies. People of African descent still faced low rates of participation and representation in political and institutional decision-making processes as well as obstacles to access quality education and the labour market.

Speaking in the interactive discussion were European Union, Tunisia on behalf of the African Group, Cuba, Venezuela, Libya, Italy, Bolivia, United States, Mexico, Kenya, Botswana, Nigeria, Benin, Azerbaijan, Brazil and Ecuador.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor: African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters, Espace Afrique International, Minority Rights Group Intenational, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, International Committee for the Respect and the Application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples#39; Rights, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, International-Lawyers.Org, and Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its general debate on the follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. The general debate started on Monday 25 September and a summary of the statements can be found here.

In the interactive discussion, speakers recalled that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action confirmed that human rights were a matter of priority for the international community. Many stressed the importance of ensuring gender equality and providing better education for women and girls since they were disproportionately affected by human rights violations. Several speakers also recalled that the denial of the right to self-determination in several areas of the world constituted a violation of human rights. It was observed with concern that the concept of the environment, which was enshrined in the Vienna Declaration, did not appear in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The following civil society organizations took the floor: Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, United Schools International, Conseil international pour le soutien agrave; des procegrave;s eacute;quitables et aux droits de l’homme, International Association for Democracy in Africa, Pan African Union for Science and Technology, Rencontre africaine pour la deacute;fense des droits de l’homme, World Muslim Congress, World Environment and Resources Council, Indigenous People of Africa Coordinating Committee, Centre for Environmental and Management Studies, Prahar, Liberation, European Union of Public Relations, Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association MBOSCUDA, Organisation internationale pour le deacute;veloppement inteacute;gral de la femme, Association pour l’inteacute;gration et le deacute;veloppement durable au Burundi, United Nations Watch, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, Centre for Organisation Research and Education, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopeacute;ration Eacute;conomique Internationale OCAPROCE Internationale, VAAGDHARA, World Barua Organization, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Victorious Youths Movement, International-Lawyers.Org, International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations, iuventum e.V., ABC Tamil Oli, ANAJA (Lord replied), ASSOCIATION CULTURELLE DES TAMOULS EN FRANCE, Association Bharathi Centre Culturel Franco-Tamoul, Association Solidariteacute; Internationale pour l’Afrique, Association for the Victimes of the World, Centre for Human Rights and Peace advocacy, LE PONT, Alliance Creative Community Project, Society for Development and Community Empowerment, Tamil Uzhagam, Association Thendral, Tourner la page, Press Emblem Campaign, Association of World Citizens, Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos y Justicia de Genero Corporacion Humanas, Conseil de jeunesse pluriculturelle, Meezaan Centre for Human Rights, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, Human Security Initiative Organization, and Servas International.

At noon, the Council will hold a general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Source:United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).