On 30 August 2022, the UN Human Rights Office concluded that the Chinese State may be responsible for committing crimes against humanity, in a report on human rights in the Uyghur region (Xinjiang). One year later, global pressure on Beijing remains high, ahead of a major UN human rights review in January.
The killing of Nahel Merzouk by French police on 27 June 2023 stands alongside countless killings by law enforcement around the world, motivated by the criminalisation of African and Afro-descendant’s lives and racial profiling.
By analysing the effects of anti-Blackness on people’s lives, Black communities around the world, civil society organisations and human rights defenders call on States at the Human Rights Council to take action for racial justice by fully implementing the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) and guaranteeing a safe and enabling environment for defenders, including collecting disaggregated data, an issue of vital importance for decision-making and visibility.
The debate with the Special Rapporteur on Racism, Ashwini K.P, was an opportunity to discuss the different forms of racial discrimination and intersectional manifestations of structural and systemic racism, while also spotlighting the continuing killings of Africans and Afro-descendants as a result of excessive uses of force by law enforcement and correlated forms of State violence. The Special Rapporteur also reiterated her support of the historic DDPA and the International Decade for People of African Descent.
In their joint statement, ISHR, UNARC and Geledés – Black Women’s Institute highlighted the history of resistance and the fight against structural and systemic racism as an essential part of realising human rights globally and acquiring recognition, justice, and development for People of African Descent. The statement underscored the need for further collaboration between the Special Rapporteur on racism and the Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement (EMLER) to develop coordinated and meaningful UN responses for racial justice.
Watch and read the joint statement below:
‘Thank you, President. This is a joint statement.
Twenty-one years ago the historic Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) stated the urgent need to address racism, xenophobia, and related intolerance with more humanity and efficiency. As the document expresses, Durban should be seen as a beginning and not an end of this journey. Similarly, the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, urged States to implement concrete actions under the pillars of Recognition, Justice and Development so that people of African descent can fully enjoy their rights. Nevertheless, the forms of discrimination and other correlated and intersectional manifestations of structural racism, continue not only to exist but also grow worldwide.
We welcome Ashwini K. P. to her new role as Special Rapporteur and remain supportive of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Racism.
We honour the resistance and resilience of Black communities across the world; from quilombos in Brazil to maroon societies in Honduras, Colombia, Jamaica and more, to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., to apartheid struggles in South Africa to Haitian resistance and the resistance of stateless Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.
We condemn the intersectional violations against Africans and people of African descent, State violence, and the abandonment of public policies, such as health, housing, education, and socio-economic programs. It does not matter where, anti-Blackness is rooted in the legacies of colonialism and the transatlantic trade of enslaved Africans. From Black migrants trying to flee wars created by the same countries that now deny them asylum, to the Black citizens that are not welcome in their own country because of their African features, to the tragic daily worldwide murders of Africans and youth of African Descent by law enforcement such as the most recent murder of Nahel Merzouk by French police, as a result of racial profiling and criminalisation.
We encourage the Special Rapporteur to further collaborate with the Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement (EMLER), to develop coordinated and meaningful UN responses for racial justice. We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s stated approach to integrate perspectives of legacies of colonialism throughout the work of the mandate. We ask the Special Rapporteur to remain engaged with human rights defenders and social movements working on racial justice, including by considering the specific challenges they may face in their work as racialized populations working on racial justice.
We urge all States to demonstrate political will for racial justice by fully implementing the DDPA and guaranteeing a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders, including collecting disaggregated data, an issue of vital importance for decision-making and visibility.Download as PDF
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights concluded its 77th Ordinary Session held in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania from 20 October to 9 November 2023. During the session, the Commission renewed its Bureau. It received solemn declarations from elected and re-elected members and launched several documents and newsletters, among others.
Nine NGOs delivered a joint statement on the UN Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Sudan established by the Human Rights Council at its 54th session, calling the FFM to prioritise gender justice and inclusion of women, including women defenders.