Press Release

IACHR and OHCHR complete regional consultations on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance

December 14, 2018

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) held on December 8, 2018 consultations among regional human rights mechanisms in the Americas about the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.

Those consultations brought together approximately 45 participants from five countries in the region (Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Peru and Chile) representatives of 35 civil society organizations who specialize in this issue. The event included four thematic panel discussions on the following topics: racial prejudice in the police and justice systems; the under representation of Afro-descendant persons in politics and other scenarios for the exercise of power; special measures and affirmative action; and strategies for cooperation with regional and global institutions for the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.

Those consultations sought to improve cooperation between inter-American and international human rights mechanisms, with a view to developing, among others, concrete proposals for cooperation in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. This was the first of a series of consultations on the subject that the OHCHR is holding in collaboration with regional human rights mechanisms.

The IACHR appreciates the participation of experts, representatives of civil society organizations and academics involved in the event. The Inter-American Commission highlights the importance of having those actors take part in such debating forums and make their contributions to strengthen joint strategies for the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance. Further, the involvement of States, victims of human rights violations and their representatives, and civil society organizations makes the Inter-American Human Rights System and the global human rights system stronger.

The IACHR further appreciates the participation of 13 representatives of regional human rights mechanisms from all continents, who were in Washington for the annual focal points meeting of regional mechanisms on December 7, held by the OHCHR with the support of the IACHR. Delegates were able to contribute to the debate from their different perspectives and also to obtain supporting information to prepare upcoming regional consultations.

The following recommendations emerge as preliminary results of these consultations:

1. Generating comprehensive and detailed statistics—including economic, political and social analyses—about the situation of Afro-descendant persons in the region and other population sectors and ethnic groups.

2. Reviewing and reforming policies and laws that seem neutral but cause indirect discrimination.

3. Promoting reparations for countries and groups that were affected by transatlantic human trafficking and by the trade in enslaved people, including political response measures.

The decisions and recommendations of these regional consultations will serve as a foundation for the International Workshop that the OHCHR is set to hold in 2019. Further, the results of these debates will be included in the report that the High Commissioner for Human Rights is set to submit to the Human Rights Committee for its 43rd period of sessions. The IACHR will soon issue an appendix to this press release with the complete conclusions of these consultations.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 269/18