Afro-descendants: rights and combating racial discrimination


Region countries have Instruments on I. Afro-Descendants

Policies and instruments

Latin America has a sizeable population of African descent, estimated in 2010 at more than 120 million. That population exhibits a high degree of demographic and sociopolitical heterogeneity between and even within countries of the region. In addition to their shared origins, culture and identity, persons of African descent face a series of social problems, which have been characterized by historical situations of slavery, colonization, discrimination and exclusion, as was recognized at the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, convened by the United Nations in Durban, South Africa, in 2001. Although the information is fragmentary, the inequalities observed in indicators of living conditions, to the disadvantage of Afro-descendent populations, constitute an expression of discrimination and structural racism, as does the lack of visibility of these persons in policies and programmes.

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the years 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, citing the need to strengthen national, regional and international cooperation so as to engender the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights for persons of African descent, and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society. Hence the importance of their inclusion in the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. Although the Cairo Programme of Action did not explicitly include the situation of Afro descendants, the regional five-year reviews of the Programme of Action have increasingly done so.

This chapter contains seven priority measures. Priority measure 92 calls for respecting and implementing the provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, which covers all the dimensions of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of Afro-descendent persons. Priority measure 93, on addressing ethnic and racial inequalities in conjunction with other factors, entails a broad range of actions, and consequently this guide will deal with the more specific ones under priority measures 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98. It is also important that the remaining priority measures operationalized in this guide should be viewed in light of the particular situation of persons of African descent.

Priority Measures