Washington D.C., December 8, 2018
On December 8, 2018, the Rapporteurship on the Rights of People of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner carried out a regional consultation on mechanisms to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and other related forms of intolerance.
The general objective of this regional consultation was to improve cooperation between inter-American human rights mechanisms and international human rights mechanisms, in order to develop concrete proposals for cooperation between international and regional human rights mechanisms to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.
Within the framework of the consultation, approximately 45 participants, from 5 countries of the region (Brazil, Colombia, United States, Peru, Chile) gathered, representatives of 35 civil society organizations specializing in the subject. Throughout the consultation, 4 thematic panels related to racial prejudice in the police and justice systems were held; underrepresentation of people of African descent in politics and other spaces of power; special measures and affirmative actions; and strategies for cooperation with regional and universal organizations in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.
Santo Domingo, November 19, 20, and 21, 2018
The Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights participated in the visit carried out on November 19, 20, and 21, 2018 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic within the framework of the Implementation Table of Human Rights Policies in the Dominican Republic.
Within the framework of this visit, the Rapporteur and her technical team will participate in space for joint dialogue with the State of the Dominican Republic and Dominican civil society organizations on policies to combat all forms of discrimination.
Mexico City, October 11-13, 2018
The technical team of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of People of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination conducted training aimed at addressing the role, mandate, and tools available within the scope of the Inter-American Commission and the inter-American standards on equality and non-discrimination. In particular, the existence of laws, administrative practices, and judicial decisions that disproportionately affect the ability of people of African descent to enjoy their human rights and special policies and affirmative actions were addressed with the objective of promoting equitable conditions of equality of opportunities.
Bogotá, Colombia, May 18, 2018
The Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-descendants and against Racial Discrimination participated in the discussion “ Standards and Realities of Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Dominican and Colombian Cases , with the assistance of members of Civil Society and the Academy ”organized by Women's Link.
The objective of the discussion was to make visible the standards of the inter-American system, the work of the IACHR, and the situation of sexual and reproductive rights in the countries of the region, with emphasis on the situation of special vulnerability of historically discriminated groups.
Cali, Colombia May 17-18, 2018
The Rapporteur on the Rights of People of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination participated in the meeting with organizations from the Colombian Pacific organized by the Center for Afrodiasporic Studies (CEAF), ICESI University, and the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights and AFRODES. The event discussed the situation of Afro-descendant and indigenous people in the post-conflict context in the Colombian Pacific area.
Cartagena, May 15 - 16
The Rapporteur and technical staff participated in the VI regular meeting of the Ibero-American Network against Discrimination, which was attended by representatives of various state institutions and members of civil society.
The objective of the meeting was to exchange experiences and knowledge on the actions and tools that are designed and implemented in Ibero-American countries to fight discrimination and promote a participatory and broad dialogue around Afro-descendant identity.
Lima, Peru April 9, 2018
Taking advantage of the theme of the Summit of the Americas, the Inter-American Forum against Discrimination addressed how corruption specifically affects this population both in the host country, Peru and in the region in general. The need for the countries of the region to ratify the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Related Forms of Racial Intolerance was also emphasized.
Washington, D.C. 23 March 2018
The technical staff of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Afro-descendant Persons and against Discrimination participated in the Conference on global policies in Afro-descendant communities organized by Howard University.
During the event, topics such as police and community relations, regulatory challenges and barriers that impede effective policing, community supervision; youth and police interactions; surveillance models; the perspective of minority security forces personnel, etc.
Bogotá, Colombia, March 3, 2018
The Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-descendant Persons and against Racial Discrimination participated in the Meeting with the Ethnic Commission and the Defense of Territorial Rights and Afro-Colombian organizations on the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter of the Peace Agreement.
The objective of the meeting was to discuss the state of human rights of ethnic communities after one year of the implementation of the Peace Agreement, as well as the role of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in monitoring the implementation of the Ethnic Chapter.
Geneva, Switzerland 23-24 November 2017
The technical staff of the Rapporteurship on the Rights of People of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination was present at the meeting of the United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent that sought to evaluate the implementation of actions related to the Decade of Afro-descendants of the United Nations.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil November 8 and 9, 2017
Represented by the Executive Secretary of the IACHR, the Rapporteurship was present at the Meeting of the United Nations Office in Brazil on Racial profiling, with the assistance of representatives of civil society. The meeting discussed the application of racial profiling; prevention strategies; policies to combat their use.
Washington D.C., October 20 and 21
In conjunction with the Faculty of Law, George Washington University (GWU), the Commission held the third annual training program at the Inter-American Human Rights System for CARICOM (Caribbean Community), on October 20 and 21, 2014. Approximately 11 diplomats and Government officials from the States of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Suriname attended.
Dinah Shelton, former Commissioner and Professor of law at GWU chaired the training program. The IACHR Chair, Tracy Robinson, offered welcoming remarks by videoconference. Also participating were Professor Blake D. Morant, dean of the GWU, and Ambassador Niermala Badrising, Permanent Representative of Suriname to the OAS and Vice Chair of the Permanent Council of the OAS.
Closing remarks were made by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Emilio Álvarez Icaza, who announced that a scholarship directed at citizens of CARICOM countries was reactivated during 2014. In this context, the Executive Secretary pledged to continue to consolidate and deepen the existing constructive relationship between the Commission and the member states of CARICOM.
Canada, September 6
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.
May 14, 2014
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.
November 22-23, 2013
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.
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) is holding a lecture series with the theme Transforming the Invisible into the Visible.
On July 17, 2013, the second lecture of its lecture series was held. The lecture was delivered by the sociologist and race theorist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva of Duke University, North Carolina, USA. Professor 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.
Participating in the event were IACHR Chair 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.
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.
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.
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.
March 19, 2013
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.
February 25, 2013
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
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:
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.