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Latin America & Caribbean

Calling for visibility on racial discrimination and anti-Blackness in Latin America

At a Human Rights Council general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, Racismo MX and ISHR delivered a joint statement on systemic racism and the invisibility of Afro-descendants and Indigenous peoples in Mexico.

The debate also included statements from members of the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC) – which ISHR and Racismo MX are also a part of -, who discussed anti-racism and the importance of international collaboration and State actions to combat discrimination.

Conectas made a statement focusing on the perverse violation of slave labour in Brazil, where most of the victims are Afro-descendants, historically affected by social exclusion in the country.

Geledés – Instituto da Mulher Negra, also highlighted the economic sphere of racial discrimination by affirming the need to recognise the centrality of economic empowerment of people of African descent to overcome racism.

In our joint statement, ISHR and Racismo MX highlighted the systemic racial profiling by the Mexican authorities, denounced the economic stratification of Afro-descendants in the country, and urged Latin American States to act and implement the measures of the DDPA.

According to OXFAM Mexico, inequalities of opportunity are accentuated when people combine two or more ethnic-racial characteristics associated with groups that suffer with great inequity. This is the case of migrants, Indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants, who are the targets of racial profiling in Mexico, as stated by Marisol Aguilar Contreras, representative of Racismo MX.

Watch the video and find the written joint statement below:

Thank you, President.  This is a joint statement.

Racism in Latin America has a date of origin: 12 October 1492, the day of the beginning of the invasion and colonisation of Abya Yala, today America. Many have denied it and hidden it behind norms, policies and narratives.

One of these narratives is mestizaje. This racial and political project sought to “integrate” indigenous and Afro-descendant communities and equalise the entire population, but did not result in an equitable distribution of rights. On the contrary, it stripped the historical inhabitants of Abya Yala, today’s America, of their culture, language and territories. In addition to indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, those historically affected by this racism have also been the people who – due to this dispossession – are no longer considered indigenous, but who share phenotypical traits with these groups, such as skin tone, and who, according to Oxfam, are the poorest in our region.

On the other hand, one of the practices that most affects our region is racial profiling, and it affects people with disadvantaged racialised phenotypes, regardless of how they describe themselves. For example, in Mexico, articles 97 and 98 of the Migration Law allow for the detention, surveillance or harassment of people based on their physical appearance, regardless of their ethnic identity; this is racial profiling.

Therefore, we request the Human Rights Council to call on Latin American States to strengthen their actions to:

  1. Eradicate racial profiling of indigenous people, Afro-descendants and those who do not identify with any of them;
  2. Combat economic stratification;
  3. Combat discrimination and take effective and concreter measures to implement  the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
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