Afro-descendants: rights and combating racial discrimination


Region countries have Instruments on I. Afro-Descendants

Policies and instruments

Latin America has a large Afro-descendant population - estimated at 134 million in 2020 - with a high degree of demographic and socio-political heterogeneity between and within countries. In addition to sharing origins, culture and identity, Afro-descendant persons encounter social challenges whose central characteristics have been enslavement, colonization, discrimination and exclusion, as it was recognized at the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held by the United Nations in Durban (South Africa) in 2001. Although the data is fragmentary, the inequalities observed in the indicators on living conditions to the detriment of Afro-descendant populations are a reflection of the discrimination and structural racism that affects them, as is the invisibility of these people in policies and programmes.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent (resolution 68/237), covering the period from 2015 to 2024, underscoring the need to strengthen national, regional and international cooperation regarding the full enjoyment of the economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of Afro-descendent persons, along with their full and equal participation in all aspects of society. This underscores the relevance of including this perspective in the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. While the ICPD Programme of Action did not explicitly address the situation of Afro-descendent peoples, the five-yearly reviews carried out in the region have increasingly incorporated these population groups.

In addition to specific monitoring mechanisms for the implementation of the rights of Afro-descendent persons, actions should be coordinated with other agencies and counterparts, such as UNFPA, PAHO and UNICEF, among others. Priority action 98, focused on generating knowledge and updated disaggregated information, is fundamental for formulating and implementing policies related to population and development and Afro-descendent peoples, as well as for promoting and monitoring the realization of their rights. In this context, collaborative follow-up efforts with SCA-ECLAC and other United Nations agencies are imperative.

Priority Measures