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Human RightsUN leaders call for more action to end racism and discrimination

UN leaders call for more action to end racism and discrimination

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres celebrated the achievements and contributions of people of African descent from across the world, while addressing the forum via video message, but also acknowledged existing racial discrimination and inequalities Black people continue to face. 

He said the establishment of the Permanent Forum shows a dedication from the international community to address these injustices. Still, it needs 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 realization of their human rights; 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,” said Mr. Guterres. 

‘Formidable convening power’

Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights 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.”

Ms. 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.

Decade should extend

Ms. Al-Nashif said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, 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,” said Ms. Al-Nashif.

All reports from the Permanent Forum will be presented to the 57th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September, as well as the new session of the UN General Assembly, which begins that month.

A fight for change

The Deputy High Commissioner said her office is continuing to look for ways to ensure “the meaningful, inclusive, and safe participation of people of African descent in public life is essential in the fight against systemic racism.”

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