Afro-Descendants

Promotion and Other Activities

Human Rights Forum on the State of African Descendants in Canada
Canada, September 6

Human Rights Forum on the State of African Descendants in Canada Human Rights Forum on the State of African Descendants in Canada Foro de Derechos Humanos: Los Derechos Humanos de los Afrodescendientes en Canadá Foro de Derechos Humanos: Los Derechos Humanos de los Afrodescendientes en Canadá
Click on the photos to enlarge them

On September 6, 2014, the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the African Canadian Legal Clinic in conjunction with Osgoode Hall Law School, held a forum on the State of African Descendants in Toronto, Canada. The forum, which had a large attendance from the Toronto community, featured a number of speakers and presenters on a range of topics involving the human rights of afro-descendants in Canada, including unemployment and housing, migrant workers, education, child welfare, the experiences of the Somali community, health, policing and criminal justice, and topics of the national agenda. This was the second in a Canadian series on issues of Race and Human Rights, the first being held in Montreal, in November 2013.

Commissioner Rosa-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-Descendants and Against Racial Discrimination of the IACHR, addressed the Forum in an opening address. During her speech, the Commissioner presented topics that affect Canadian Afro-Descendants, such as socio-economic exclusion, employment, sources of income, “racialization” of poverty and housing and homelessness, drawing parallels with issues of race discrimination in the Americas. In addition, the Commissioner discussed and drew recommendations on employment equity, poverty reduction, public data collection, juvenile justice, education and housing.

Invitation of the Human Rights Forum on the State of African Descendants in Canada – September 6, 2014

Program and Speeches of the Human Rights Forum on the State of African Descendants in Canada

Lecture Series: Transforming the Invisible into the Visible
May 14, 2014

Serie de Conferencias: Cómo transformar lo invisible en visible Serie de Conferencias: Cómo transformar lo invisible en visible
Click on the photos to enlarge them
Photo Credit: Mario López Garelli

On May 14, 2014, the third lecture of the series was delivered by prominent author, academic, and race theorist Tanya K. Hernandez, a Professor of Law at Fordham University, New York.

The title of Professor Hernandez's lecture was "Racial Innocence in the Americas: A U.S. – Latin American Comparison". With reference to her recent work, "Racial Subordination in Latin America: The Role of the State, Customary Law and the New Civil Rights Response", she explored, and critiqued the notion that Latin American countries have been "racially innocent", compared to the history of Jim Crow segregation of the USA.

In this regard, Professor Hernandez argued that an examination of the role of the state after the abolition of slavery in regulating race through immigration law and customary law disrupts this picture of Latin America as “racially innocent.”

Professor Hernandez also offered an assessment of the ways in which contemporary Latin American anti-discrimination laws seek to eradicate the legacy of state-sponsored racism; and further offered insights as to how the examination of the Latin American context may be helpful to the U.S. racial justice movement today, given the growing denial of the existence of racism in the United States.

Lecture by Professor Tanya Hernández

Press Release announcing this lecture

Audio recording of the lecture


Race, Discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America
November 22-23, 2013

Raza, Discriminación y Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales en América del Norte Raza, Discriminación y Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales en América del Norte Raza, Discriminación y Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales en América del Norte
Click on the photos to enlarge them

On November 22 to 23, 2013, the IACHR, in conjunction with the Labour Law and Development Research Laboratory, Faculty of Law at McGill University, held a Special Forum on Race, Discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America.

The forum took place at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. The forum featured a number of speakers and presenters on a range of topics including race and the criminal justice system, discrimination against indigenous peoples in North America, race and discrimination in matters of health, housing and education, race discrimination in the workplace, and race and religious accommodation in the workplace.

Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent (and at the time Commissioner in charge of the Economic Social and Cultural Rights Unit) keynote speech under the title “Setting the stage – an overview of race, discrimination and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in North America", while Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, (then IACHR Chair) delivered some opening remarks. del Norte”. El Comisionado José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, entonces Presidente de la CIDH, ofreció las palabras de apertura.

Agenda

Remarks by Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco

Press Release announcing this event

Keynote speech by Commissioner Rose Marie Belle Antoine

Lecture Series: Transforming the Invisible into the Visible
July 17, 2013

The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched a lecture series with the theme “Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.”

IACHR Chair, José de Jesus Orozco; Professor Eduardo Bonilla Silva; and Commmissioner Rose Marie Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-descendants, at the conference Professor Eduardo Bonilla Silva imparting the conference Commmissioner Rose Marie Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-descendants, opening the conference
the assistants to the conference IACHR Chair, José de Jesus Orozco, opening the conference
Click on the photos to enlarge them

On July 17, 2013, the second lecture of the series was delivered by the distinguished sociologist and race theorist Prof. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Prof. Bonilla-Silva's choice of title for his conference was El descenso por la madriguera: Racism,New Racism, and the Post-Racial Moment in Obamerica.

Brochure of the lecture
Click on the brochure to enlarge it

Participating in the event were IACHR President José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, who offered remarks; the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, chaired the event; and Executive Secretary Emilio Álvarez Icaza Longoria, who delivered the closing remarks and vote of thanks.

Flyer of the Event

Lecture Series: Transforming the Invisible into the Visible
June 25, 2013

The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) launched a lecture series with the theme “Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.”

Comisionada Rose Marie Antoine, Relatora sobre los Derechos de los Afrodescendientes, en la conferencia Sheila Walker es directora ejecutiva de Afrodiaspora está en la foto durante la conferencia Secretario General Adjunto de la OEA, Albert Ramdin, al dar las palabras de apertura en la conferencia
Click on the photos to enlarge them

The inaugural lecture was delivered by the renowned cultural anthropologist and filmmaker Sheila Walker. She is Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing documentary films and educational materials about the global African diaspora. Participating in the event were the OAS Assistant Secretary General, Albert Ramdin, who offered opening remarks. The Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, chaired the event.

Brochure of the lecture
Click on the brochure to enlarge it

The conference took place on June 25, 2013, at the OAS General Secretariat Building, 1889 F St NW, Washington DC, 20006. The event was open to the public.

Flyer of the Event

Presentation of the Book The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere
March 19, 2013

Presentation of the Book The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere Presentation of the Book The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere Presentation of the Book The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere
Click on the photo to enlarge it

On March 19, 2013, the Rapporteur moderated a panel discussion to launch a new book by Prof. Robert Cottrol entitled The Long Lingering Shadow: Slavery Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere.  Robert Cottrol is Professor of Law, of History, and of Sociology; and Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School. The launch took place at the George Washington Law School, with the panel including Judith Morrison, Senior Advisor for the Gender and Diversity Unit at the Inter-American Development Bank, and Professor Eric Arensen, of the George Washington University History Department. Prof.Cottrol's work analyzes the interplay of law and race in the Americas, contrasting the experience of the United States with Brazil, as well as seven nations carved from Spain’s American empire: Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The Rapporteur lauded Prof. Cottrol for his substantial work in advancing the historiography of race and law in the Americas, noting that it will serve to broaden and deepen regional discourse in this regard.

Flyer of the Event

Milestones and Challenges in the Advancement of the Rights of Afro-Descendants in the Americas
February 25, 2013

Brochure with the program
Click on the brochure to enlarge it

The IACHR co-organized with the Department of International Affairs of the OAS a Roundtable Discussion under the name “Milestones and Challenges in the Advancement of the Rights of Afro-Descendants in the Americas.” It will take place on February 25, 2013, in the Hall of the Americas of the Main Bulding of the Organization, in Washington, D.C. The topic will be presented by U.S. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks, Representative of the Fifth Congressional District of New York, United States House of Representatives. The panel discussion, moderated by Ambassador Deborah Mae Lovell, Permanent Representative of Antigua & Barbuda to the OAS, will consist of Francisco Lopez, President of the Bert Corona Leadership Institute; Robert J. Cottrol, Professor of History and Sociology, and Harold Paul green Rsearch Professor of Law at George Washington University; and Zakiya Carr Johnson, Senior Advisor to the Race, Ethnicity and Social Inclusion Unit in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. The welcoming remarks will be made by the OAS Secretary General, Jose Miguel Insulza, and the closing remarks by the IACHR Executive Secretary, Emilio Alvarez Icaza. This event will be Webcast: www.oas.org

See here the complete program

OAS Working Group
October-November 2012

The Working Group to Prepare the Draft Legally-Binding Inter-American Instruments Against Racism and Racial Discrimination and Against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance met on October 23, November 6, and November 12, 2012. The Office of the Rapporteurship participated in these meetings to offer technical assistance and observations on the Draft Convention.

IGWG on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
October 2012

On October 15 and 16, 2012, the Rapporteurship participated in the 10th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. This took place in Geneva, Switzerland. A specialist of the Rapporteurship delivered a presentation on the topic The enhancement of international and regional cooperation with regard to the implementation of the DDPA. The presentation covered three main areas:

  • how regional cooperation in the Americas has already contributed to the Durban Agenda (such as the Rapporteurship on People of African Descent/Racial Discrimination and Draft Convention/instruments on Racism/Discrimination)
  • challenges to regional/international cooperation
  • recommendations for strengthening regional/international cooperation in the implementation of the DDPA (based on the Inter-American experience) The Working Group comprises a number of UN Member States and Observer NGOs, and is chaired by Mohamed Siad Doualeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the United Nations. Participation in the Working Group’s session also provided the opportunity to distribute copies of the Rapporteurship’s 2011 thematic report, and to generally engage delegations on the work of the Rapporteurship and the OAS in advancing the DDPA.

The National Forum: Afrodescendant Populations in Mexico, 2012
September 2012

On September 27, 2012, Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine gave a keynote address at The National Forum: Afrodescendant Populations in Mexico, 2012. The two-day National Forum on Afro-Descendant Populations took place in Mexico City with the aim of opening a national dialogue on the rights, recognition and social inclusion of Black Mexicans. Participants include Afro-Mexican community groups, government officials and academics.

IACHR Launches Report on the Situation of People of African Descent at meeting of CARICOM

Commissioner Rose Marie Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afrodescendants, during the presentation From left to right: Commissioner Rose Marie Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afrodescendants; Human Righs Specialist Hilaire Sobers; IACHR President, Jose de Jesus Orozco.
Click on the photo to enlarge it

On July 6, 2012, at the 33rd meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government, held in St. Lucia, the Inter-American Commission presented the report on The Situation of People of African Descent, as well as briefings on the IACHR’s work, particularly on the rights of human rights defenders. Leading the IACHR team were Commissioner Jose de Jesus de Orozco, Chair and Rapporteur on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders; Commissioner Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and Against Racial Discrimination; and the IACHR Interim Executive Secretary, Elizabeth Abi-Mershed. Prime Minister Denzil Douglas of St. Kitts-Nevis was guest speaker, while CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, offered welcoming remarks. Other CARICOM dignitaries in attendance included Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia, Prime Minister Tilman Thomas of Grenada, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; and the Chief Minister of Anguilla, Hubert Hughes.  

Report The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas (2011)

Presentation by Rapporteur at session of Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
May 2012

Tthe UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent conducted their 11th regular session in Geneva between April 30 and May 4. The Rapporteur was invited to be part of a panel discussion on the draft programme of action on the proposed UN Decade of People of African Descent. By Resolution A/RES/66/144 of December 19, 2011, the UN General Assembly mandated the Working Group of Experts “to develop a programme of action, including a theme, for adoption by the Human Rights Council, with a view to proclaiming the decade starting in 2013 the Decade for People of African Descent”.

Commissioner Antoine, in her remarks to the Working Group, pledged the full support of her Rapporteurship to the broad agenda of the Decade for People of African Descent. She emphasized that collaboration between the UN and regional bodies like the OAS, will be essential in ensuring the success of the Decade, and its agenda. Referring to the recent publication of the Report The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas, Commissioner Antoine pointed out that it documents many of the challenges faced by Afro-descendants in the Americas and it can be deployed as a tool in advancing the agenda of the Decade for People of African Descent.

Working Group to Prepare a Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance
April 2012

The Working Group to Prepare the Draft Legally-Binding Inter-American Instruments Against Racism and Racial Discrimination and Against all Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance met in April 2012. The Office of the Rapporteurship participated in two meetings of this Working Group to offer technical assistance and observations on the Draft Convention.

Afro XXI: Iberoamerican Meeting in the International Year of Afrodescendants

Afro XXI AfroXXI
Click on the photo to enlarge it

The Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination of the IACHR participated in the event “Afro XXI: Iberoamerican Meeting on the International Year of Afrodescendants”, which took, place in El Salvador, State of Bahia, Brazil, on November 16 to 19, 2011. During the meeting, the specialist of the Rapporteurship, Leonardo Hidaka, gave a preseentation on the national and international legal frameworks on racial discrimination and access to justice for afrodescendant persons. The event was organized by the Iberoamerican General Secretariat, along with the Federal Government of Brazil, the State Government of Bahia, the Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation, and several specialized agencies of the United Nations Organization. The event was held in attention to the Resolution that proclaimed year 2011 as the International Year of Afrodescendants, aiming to strengthen the national measures and the regional and international cooperation for the full exercise of human rights by afrodescendants. The general goal of the Iberoamerican Meeting was to visibilize the presence of afrodescendants in the Hemisphere, the main difficulties they face, the social, cultural and economic contributions the afrodescendant communities make to Iberoamerica, highlight inclusive public policies and good practices, and debate strategies for social inclusion of afrodescendants in the different national contexts and their contributions to development.

Questionnaire on The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas (May 2011)

In May 2011, the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination prepared this questionnaire with a view to collecting information that might account for the situation, problems and challenges faced by people of African descent in the Americas. The information received will be systematized and examined by the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination of the IACHR in a thematic report aimed at identifying the main difficulties faced by people of African descent in the region and promoting the implementation of international standards, in order to assist States in the adoption and execution of policies that undertake to effectively ensure and protect the rights of persons of African descent. Responses to the questionnaire will be received until June 30, 2011 at the following address:

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Organization of American States
1889 F street, NW
Washington DC 20006
lhidaka@oas.org
tgos@oas.org

Training Workshop on the Inter-American System of Human Rights for Afro-descendent Leaders (March 2011)

Training Workshop on the Inter-American System of Human Rights for Afro-descendent Leaders (March 2001)
Click on the photo to enlarge it

On March 15, 2011, the Rapporteurship and the non-governmental organization Global Rights – Partners for Justice offered a Training Workshop on the Inter-American System of Human Rights for Afro-descendent Leaders in the Americas. Seventeen representatives of civil society from nine country of the region participated.

Regional Conference: “The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas: Prospects and Challenges” (March 2011)

Regional Conference: “The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas: Prospects and Challenges” (March 2011) Regional Conference: “The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas: Prospects and Challenges” (March 2011) Regional Conference: “The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas: Prospects and Challenges” (March 2011)
Para ampliar las fotos, haga click sobre ellas

To mark the International Year for People of African Descent, the IACHR’s Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination organized the Regional Conference “The Situation of People of African Descent in the Americas – Prospects and Challenges,” which took place on March 14, 2011. This conference was co-sponsored by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations and by the non-governmental organization Global Rights – Partners for Justice.

Second Meeting of Colombian Pacific Coast Organizations with International Cooperation Bodies (October 2010)

Second Meeting of the Organizations of the Colombian Pacific with Agencies of International Cooperation (October 2010) Second Meeting of the Organizations of the Colombian Pacific with Agencies of International Cooperation (October 2010) Second Meeting of the Organizations of the Colombian Pacific with Agencies of International Cooperation (October 2010)
Click on the photos to enlarge them

The Office of the Rapporteur participated in and carried out a presentation on the inter-American system and on the report Preliminary Observations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights after the Visit of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination to the Republic of Colombia, during the Second Meeting of Colombian Pacific Coast Organizations with International Cooperation Bodies. The event, organized by the USAID Human Rights Program and the Trust for the Americas, was held in Tumaco, Colombia, on October 12, 2010. Participants in the course included more than 100 Afro-Colombian human rights activists from the cities of Tumaco (department of Nariño), Buenaventura (department of Valle del Cauca), and Quibdó (department of Chocó).

Increasing the Participation and Advocacy of Afro-Descendants at the OAS (September 2010)

The Office of the Rapporteur gave a presentation on the inter-American human rights system, during a training workshop on Increasing the Participation and Advocacy of Afro-Descendants at the Organization of American States and the Summit of the Americas Process. The event, organized by Global Rights−Partners for Justice, took place on September 15, 2010, in Washington, D.C. It brought together 19 Afro-descendant human rights activists from 11 countries in the Americas.

Increasing the Participation and Advocacy of Afro-Descendants at the OAS (September 2009)

Increasing Participation and Incidence of Afro-descendents at the OAS Increasing Participation and Incidence of Afro-descendents at the OAS
Click on the photos to enlarge them

On September 16, 2009, attorney specialist Leonardo Hidaka of the Office of the Rapporteur gave a presentation during a training workshop on Increasing the Participation and Advocacy of Afro-Descendants at the Organization of American States and the Summit of the Americas Process. The event, organized by Global Rights−Partners for Justice, included the participation of 17 Afro-descendant activists from around the hemisphere.

Durban Review Conference in Geneva (April 2009)

Conference on the Durban Process in Geneva (April 2009)
Click on the photo to enlarge it

The Rapporteur, Sir Clare Roberts, participated in the Durban Review Conference, which took place April 20-24, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. He also offered a presentation during an alternate event on “People of African Descent: assessing the progress made since Durban and the way forward.” In the presentation, the Rapporteur described the work of the IACHR since the 2005 creation of its Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-Descendants, with a view to encouraging the States to recognize the existence of their population of African descent and the persistence of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, pursuant to paragraph 33 of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

Regional Preparatory Conference of the Durban Review Conference (June 2008)

Regional Conference, Preparatory of the Durban Review Conference (June 2008)
Click on the photo to enlarge it

On June 17-19, 2008, the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination participated in the UN Regional Preparatory Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, in Brasilia, Brazil. The event was held in connection with the review process of the Durban Plan of Action adopted at the conclusion of the UN World Conference Against Racism, which took place in 2001 in South Africa (Durban Review Process). The Rapporteur gave remarks with respect to the role of regional mechanisms, in particular that of the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. He also offered observations on progress and challenges to the protection of the rights of people of African descent with respect to the goals of the Durban Plan of Action, their implementation, and the evaluation of the impact of such measures. Specifically, the Rapporteur discussed the importance of the process to develop a regional instrument against racism and racial discrimination, and encouraged all members to participate in the process.

Advisory Support to the Working Group to Prepare a Draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance

Sir Clare K. Roberts; Ariel Dulitzky, of the IACHR Executive Secretariat; and Silvio José Alburquerque e Silva, President of the Working Group and Alternate Representative of Brazil to the OAS
Click on the photo to enlarge it

On October 20, 2005, during the 123rd period of sessions of the IACHR, the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination, Sir Clare Roberts, gave a presentation to the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS Permanent Council, which is responsible for drafting a new inter-American convention against racial discrimination. In his presentation, the Rapporteur underscored the importance that the Convention will have in waging a more effective struggle against racism in the Americas.

First National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality, Brazil

The Office of the Rapporteur participated in the First National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Brazil in July 2005 The Office of the Rapporteur participated in the First National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Brazil in July 2005 The Office of the Rapporteur participated in the First National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Brazil in July 2005
Click on the photos to enlarge them

In July 2005, the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination participated in Brazil's First National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality.