Essays Essays

Afro-descendants as subjects of rights in International Human Rights law

Roberto Rojas Dávila

The historical process of recognition and its challenges

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ABSTRACT

The incorporation of the theme of Afro-descendants in international human rights law is relatively new. Only 18 years ago, the issue was raised at the Regional Conference of the Americas held in preparation for the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in the city of Santiago, Chile in the year 2000.

This article aims to analyse the historical aspects of racism and racial discrimination against the Afro-descendant population, as well as the development of the theme of Afro-descendants in international human rights law in the Americas.

Keywords

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01

 “The discrimination faced by people of African descent is pernicious. Often, they are trapped in poverty in large part because of bigotry, only to see poverty used as a pretext for further exclusion.”11. Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary General.

Introduction

The history of the Afro-descendant population in the Americas is undoubtedly one of survival from injustices and systematic violations of human rights. Racism and racial discrimination have been, and still are, part of the life of Afro-descendant women and men since the beginning of the transatlantic trade slave – that is, for over five centuries now.

In recent years, international organisations and the majority of states in the Americas have made efforts to combat racial discrimination and promote the inclusion of the Afro-descendant population. These efforts have been significant, but not enough to end more than five centuries of discrimination and exclusion.

The incorporation of the theme of Afro-descendants in international human rights law is relatively new. Only 18 years ago, the issue was raised at the Regional Conference of the Americas held in preparation for the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in the city of Santiago, Chile in the year 2000.

For the first time, the declaration from the said conference, known as the Declaration of Santiago, “Recognise[d] that the racism and racial discrimination from which the population of African origin in the Americas has suffered is at the origin of the marginalisation, poverty and exclusion in which the majority of these individuals in many countries on the continent find themselves and that, despite the efforts made, this situation persists to different degrees”. Furthermore, it “calls for measures to eliminate the inequalities that still persist due to the opprobrious legacy of slavery and to facilitate the participation of Afro-descendants in all aspects of political, economic, social and cultural life of society and in the progress and economic development of their countries; and to promote greater knowledge and respect for their heritage and culture”.

Within this context, this article aims to analyse the historical aspects of racism and racial discrimination against the Afro-descendant population, as well as the development of the theme of Afro-descendants in international human rights law in the Americas.

02

Afro-descendants in International Human Rights Law in the Americas

“We recognize that in many parts of the world, Africans and people of African descent face barriers as a result of social biases and discrimination prevailing in public and private institutions and express our commitment to work towards the eradication of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance faced by Africans and people of African descent.”22. “Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance - Declaration and Plan of Action,”Nações Unidas, 2001, acesso em 10 de dezembro de 2018, http://www.un.org/es/events/pastevents/cmcr/durban_sp.pdf.

One could say that the historical evolution of the international protection of groups in situations of vulnerability can be divided into three periods: 1) the period of unsystematic protection; 2) the period of pre-systematic protection; and 3) the period of systematic protection.

In the unsystematic protection period, a series of bilateral treaties that protected religious minorities were adopted. The pre-systematic protection period developed under the aegis of the League of Nations between the two world wars and was characterised by the first efforts to protect minorities that were not necessarily religious. One example of these initial efforts was the Advisory Opinion of the Permanent Court of Justice in the case of the minority schools in Albania in 1935.33. The opinion revolved around the Albanian government’s decision to close all private schools, which would affect the Greek minority living in the country. In the said opinion, the Court affirmed that:

“The underlying idea of the treaties for the protection of minorities is to guarantee certain groups incorporated into a state, from whom the population differs in race, language and religion, the possibility of peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation with the population, while preserving, at the same time, the characteristics that distinguish these groups from the majority and satisfying the special needs that emerge.”

This advisory opinion is extremely important, as it was the first time that a concept of equality elaborated specifically for racial, religious or linguistic minorities appeared. It was precisely this vision on the equality – and not the assimilation – of racial, religious or linguistic minorities that generated, after World War II, the creation of international human rights law as we know it today.

It was in this context that, at the initiative of the United Nations at the international level and the Organisation of American States at the regional level, the period of systematic protection began.

03

The United Nations and the Fight against Racial Discrimination

“Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, and to prevent and combat racist doctrines and practices in order to promote understanding between races and to build an international community free from all forms of racial segregation and racial discrimination”.44. “International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” OHCHR, 2001, accessed December 10, 2018, https://www.ohchr.org/sp/professionalinterest/pages/cerd.aspx.

In 1945, by adopting the Charter of the United Nations, the international community accepted the challenge of promoting the implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion. However, the paradox remained, as racism and racial discrimination continued to be part of reality in the majority of the 51 founding member states of the United Nations. The United States of America, for example, maintained racial segregation as a state policy under the slogan “separate but equal” – the result of the ruling in the Plessy vs Ferguson case in 1896. France and the United Kingdom still had colonies on five continents and Russia still used the Gulag system.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which established, in Art. 1, that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The same year, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Unfortunately, in 1948, apartheid was made official in the territory of the Republic of South Africa. This policy of racial segregation was introduced into the country by the National Party. The legislation on apartheid determined the places of residence for each “racial” group, the education they would receive and the kind of work they could do. It also prohibited non-whites from intervening in government, as well as any type of social contact between different “races”.

The 1970s was one of the most intense decades in relation to racial discrimination. Some reprehensible incidents, such as the assassination of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., Bloody Sunday in Selma and the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, among others, made the news.

It is in this historical context that public international law is used to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related practices. In the mid-1960s, the United Nations General Assembly approved the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which was the first legally binding international instrument specifically on racial discrimination. The convention established that “States Parties condemn racial discrimination and undertake to pursue … a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms”. It also ordered the creation of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The committee was the first effective monitoring body for a human rights treaty and it was responsible for reviewing the implementation of the Convention.

In 1966, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa.

Despite the United Nations’ efforts to fight racism and racial discrimination, apartheid remained strong in South Africa. In 1973, the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid was approved and, the same year, the United Nations General Assembly announced the First Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, which went from 1973 to 1983.

In 1978, the First World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination took place. Its declaration and plan of action confirm the essential fallacy of racism and the serious threat that it poses to friendly relations between peoples and nations. It also asserted that:

“Any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and there is no justification for it”.

In the said conference, apartheid was specifically condemned as “an extreme form of institutionalised racism”, a crime against humanity, an affront to dignity and a threat to world peace. It also stated that deep economic inequalities are what provoke racial discrimination and it is necessary to make efforts to fight racism, including by adopting measures to improve the living conditions of men and women.

In 1983, the Second World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination took place, where racism was condemned once again. Also that year, the United Nations General Assembly established the Second Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, which lasted from 1983 to 1992. This was followed by the Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination, from 1993 to 2003. In its resolution on the Third Decade, the General Assembly urged all governments to fight against new forms of racism, such as xenophobia and related forms of intolerance; discrimination based on culture, nationality, religion or language; and racism resulting from official doctrines of racial superiority and/or exclusivity, such as ethnic cleansing. Also in 1993, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights named a Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In the 20th century, the United Nations played a leading role in the fight against racism and racial discrimination.

04

Afro-descendants as Subjects of International Human Rights Law: “We went in as blacks and emerged as Afro-descendants”

For millions of Afro-descendants, the 21st century marked the beginning of a new legal status – one that raises the level of protection for their human and collective rights.

In 2000, in the city of Santiago, Chile, the Regional Conference of the Americas was held, which was a preparatory conference for the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. During the conference in Santiago, the states of the Americas defined Afro-descendant as the person of African origin who lives in the Americas and in the region of the African Diaspora as a result of slavery, who have been denied the exercise of their fundamental rights. In the Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance – known as the Durban Conference – the states ratified this definition, as well as most of the content of the Declaration of Santiago related to Afro-descendants.

From our point of view, the most important aspect of both declarations is that, in addition to defining the term Afro-descendant, they recognised people of African descent as subjects of international human rights law. This meant that they are able to acquire rights and obligations directly in the international arena, according to the provisions of these international instruments.

In the words of activists from the Afro-descendant movement in the Americas, at the Conference of Santiago, “We went in as blacks and emerged as Afro-descendants”. This meant that there was a before and an after the conference in relation to the promotion and respect of Afro-descendants’ rights. By adopting a legal definition and by recognising them as subjects of international human rights law, it was possible to raise the level of protection for this vulnerable group.

We should highlight that the advances achieved at the Conference of Santiago were possible thanks to the strong participation and intervention of Afro-descendant civil society, whose contributions were taken into consideration to enrich the content of the declaration, as well as the governments’ openness and the good will during the negotiations.

At the national level, we can mention the creation of several racial equality bodies, such as, for example, the Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Brazil, the Racial Ethnic Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, the Presidential Commissioner in Costa Rica, the Presidential Programme in Colombia and the Executive Secretariat of the Black Ethnic Council in Panama, among others. In the Americas, there are approximately 18 government bodies on racial equality.

In 2002, pursuant to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, the United Nations created the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, with the following mandate:

  • Study the problems of racial discrimination affecting people of African descent living in the diaspora;
  • Propose measures to ensure people of African descent full and effective access to the justice system;
  • Submit recommendations on the design, implementation and enforcement of effective measures to eliminate racial profiling of Afro-descendants;
  • Elaborate short, medium and long-term proposals for the elimination of racial discrimination against Afro-descendants, bearing in mind the need for close collaboration with international and development institutions and the specialised agencies of the United Nations system to promote the human rights of people of African descent;
  • Make proposals on the elimination of racial discrimination against Africans and people of African descent in all parts of the world;
  • Address all the issues concerning the well-being of Africans and Afro-descendants included in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.

In 2011, in the framework of the International Year for People of African Descent, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) approved General Recommendation No. 34 entitled “Racial Discrimination against Afro-descendants”.

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution A/RES/68/237 “Proclamation of the International Decade for People of African Descent”, which began on January 1, 2015 and is set to end on December 31, 2024. The theme of the decade is “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development”. Its specific objectives are:

  • Promote respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by people of African descent, as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • Promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the diversity of the heritage and the culture of Afro-descendants and their contribution to the development of societies;
  • Adopt and strengthen national, regional and international legal frameworks according to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and ensure their full and effective implementation.

In conclusion, in recent years, the United Nations has contributed to the recognition of Afro-descendant women and men as subjects of rights and specifically as subjects of international human rights law, and to pressuring states and international organisations to assume their commitments to this vulnerable group.

05

The OAS and its Efforts to Fight Racism and Racial Discrimination

“Every human being has the right to the equal recognition, enjoyment, exercise, and protection, at both the individual and collective levels, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in their domestic law and in international law applicable to the States Parties.”55. “Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance,” 2013, accessed December 10, 2018, http://www.oas.org/es/sla/ddi/docs/tratados_multilaterales_interamericanos_A-68_racismo.pdf.

The fight against racism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance is not new at the OAS. Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Charter of the Organisation of American States establishes that:

“The American States proclaim the fundamental rights of the individual without distinction as to race, nationality, creed, or sex”.

Article II of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man stipulates that:

“All persons are equal before the law and have the rights and duties established in this Declaration, without distinction as to race, sex, language, creed or any other factor”.

As for the American Convention on Human Rights, Article 1 established that:

“The States Parties to this Convention undertake to respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those rights and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, or any other social condition.”

The first time a reference to the issue of racism and discrimination can be found was in 1994 in resolution AG/RES.1271 (XXIV-O/94) entitled “Nondiscrimination and Tolerance”. In the said resolution, the General Assembly considered that “racism and discrimination in their various forms undermine the principles and practices of democracy as a way of life and a form of government and unequivocally seek the destruction thereof”. Furthermore, it strongly condemned all forms of racism, racial or religious discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance and declared that “such conduct constitutes a violation of human rights, particularly those pertaining to racial equality and religious freedom”.

In 1999, through resolution AG/RES. 1695 (XXIX–O/99) “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance”, the General Assembly urged member states to support activities for the organisation of the said conference.

In 2001, in the Third Summit of the Americas held in Quebec, Canada, the heads of state and government committed to eradicating all forms of discrimination, including racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance in the societies of the hemisphere.

The same year, the OAS General Assembly adopted the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Article 9 of the charter states the following:

“The elimination of all forms of discrimination, especially gender, ethnic and race discrimination, as well as diverse forms of intolerance, the promotion and protection of human rights of indigenous peoples and migrants, and respect for ethnic, cultural and religious diversity in the Americas contribute to strengthening democracy and citizen participation.”

In 2005, through AG/RES.2126 (XXXV-O/05) “Prevention of Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance and Consideration of the Preparation of a Draft Inter-American Convention,” the General Assembly mandated the Permanent Council to establish a working group that will receive inputs for the preparation of a draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. In 2013, after several years of difficult negotiations, the OAS General Assembly adopted the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance and the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance.

Finally, we should mention that in the first two years following the adoption of the conventions, only 12 member states signed the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance (Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Uruguay ), and 11, the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay). Until now, the Inter-American Convention against Racism has been ratified and is in vigour in Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

06

Afro-descendants on the OAS Agenda

According to some international organisations, there are approximately 200 million people of African descent living in the Americas. The majority of them live in situations of vulnerability as a consequence of poverty, underdevelopment, social exclusion and economic inequalities that are closely linked to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In this context, the Organisation of American States (OAS) – through its General Secretariat, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Summits of the Americas process – has repeatedly expressed its concern with the inclusion of Afro-descendant people, respect for their human rights and the attention to be paid to their needs.

In 2005, during the 122nd Period of Sessions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and against Racial Discrimination was created. The Rapporteurship was given the mandate to stimulate, systematise, strengthen and consolidate the IACHR’s actions on the rights of Afro-descendants and against racial discrimination.

In 2008, the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS began to implement the “Project for the Incorporation of the Afro-descendent Theme in the Policies and Programmes of the OAS”. During the four-year project, the Department of International Law elaborated several publications and other legal documents containing studies and recommendations on the problems that afflict Afro-descendants with greater intensity. It also organised and participated in several capacity-building and empowerment activities for Afro-descendant civil society. By doing so, it managed to reach over 2,000 leaders and representatives of Afro-descendants in the region with the goal of promoting and encouraging a more active participation on their part in OAS processes that could be of interest to them and in the Summits of the Americas process – a forum that has taken the issues of people of African descent in the region into consideration.66. “Afrodescendientes en las Américas,” OEA, 2010, acesso em 10 de dezembro de 2018, http://www.oas.org/es/sla/ddi/afrodescendientes.asp.

In 2010, the Department of International Law provided legal advice to the Colombian Mission to the OAS on the elaboration of the first draft resolution of the OAS on Afro-descendants.

In 2012, the OAS General Assembly approved resolution AG/RES 2708 “Recognition and Promotion of the Rights of People of African Descent in the Americas”. This resolution orders the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs to include the theme of Afro-descendants in its agenda.

The same year, the OAS General Assembly adopted the Social Charter of the Americas. In the Charter, OAS Member States recognise the contributions of Afro-descendants to the historical process of the hemisphere and affirm that they will promote the recognition of their value. They also recognise the need to adopt policies to promote inclusion and to prevent, combat and eliminate all forms of intolerance and discrimination, particularly gender, ethnic and racial discrimination so as to ensure equal rights and opportunities and strengthen democratic values.

In 2013, the General Assembly adopted resolution AG/RES 2784 “Recognition and Promotion of the Rights of People of African Descent in the Americas”. Its objective was to facilitate the participation of organisations that represent people of African descent and their communities as one of the social actors in the Summits of the Americas process. It also requested that the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs include the theme of Afro-descendants in the Americas in its agenda and promote exchanges on successful experiences in the social inclusion of the Afro-descendant population.

In 2014, the General Assembly approved resolution AG/RES 2847 “Recognition and Promotion of the Rights of People of African Descent in the Americas”. In this resolution, it encourages member states to consider the application and implementation of the standards of protection for people of African descent in their laws and policies on the population of African descent.

The same year, the General Assembly passed resolution AG/RES 2824 entitled “Recognition of the International Decade for People of African Descent”. This resolution mandates the Permanent Council to hold a special session to celebrate the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent with the goal of exchanging ideas on the possible development of a plan of action for the OAS for the decade.

In 2015, the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs of the OAS Permanent Council approved the creation of a Working Group to Prepare the Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent of the Americas. In 2016, after months of negotiation, the General Assembly adopted resolution AG/RES. 2891 (XLVI-O/16), which contains the “Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent in the Americas (2016-2025)”.

07

Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent in the Americas (2016-2025)

The mission of the Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent in the Americas (2016-2025) is to get Member States to commit to taking the necessary measures to incorporate the theme of Afro-descendants in the policies, programmes and projects of the OAS and to gradually adopt public policies and administrative, legislative, judicial and budgetary measures to guarantee that persons of African descent in the Americas are able to enjoy their rights.

This Plan of Action is the most important and concrete measure adopted by the OAS with the goal of promoting the human rights and the inclusion of persons of African descent. It is based on the objectives of the United Nations Plan of Action and has been adapted to the context of the Americas.

The plan proposes that concrete activities be carried out at two levels:

Goal 1: At the level of the OAS

Mainstream the issues affecting people of African descent into OAS policies and programmes to promote cooperation between countries on good practices at the national level, strengthen the OAS’s role in providing technical support for the effective inclusion of this population and design policies geared towards achieving this objective, among other purposes.

Goal 2: At the level of the Member States

Promote and adopt public policies and legislative, administrative and judicial measures to promote the full and free participation of Afro-descendants, on equal footing, in all aspects of the political, economic, social and cultural life in the countries of the Americas.

In 2018, pursuant to the Plan of Action for the Decade for People of African Descent (2016-2025), the OAS Department of Social Inclusion, the Afro-Latin American Research Institute of Harvard University and the Direction on Policies for the Afro-Peruvian Population of the Ministry of Culture of Peru organised the first Inter-American Meeting of High-level Authorities on Policy for Afro- Descendant Populations in Lima, Peru from June 11 to 13, 2018. The main objectives of the meeting were to generate a regional report on the actions implemented in the framework of the International Decade for People of African Descent and promote the creation of an Inter-American Network of High Authorities on Policies for Afro-descendant Populations for the purpose of establishing permanent collaboration among national authorities on policies for the Afro-descendant population in the Americas.

The 13 Member States who attended the meeting decided to create the Inter-American Network of High Authorities on Policies for Afro-descendant Populations (RIAFRO for its acronym in Spanish/OAS). This network is to serve as a specialised mechanism for permanent dialogue, coordination and collaboration among national authorities on the implementation of policies for the Afro-descendant population in accordance with international and regional obligations in the Americas.

RIAFRO/OAS uses a gender, intergenerational and intersectional approach in its work to incorporate traditional groups in situations of vulnerability within the Afro-descendant population due to the multiple, aggravated and concomitant forms of discrimination that they face. Currently, the RIAFRO/OAS’s work is focused on the promotion of the signing and ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance, as well as the development of Afro-Latin American research and technical cooperation.

Sub-regional Bodies and Their Agenda on Afro-descendants’ Rights

The efforts to give visibility to the theme of people of African descent have been made not only at the international or regional level, but at the sub-regional level as well. In the region, there are numerous initiatives for the Afro-descendant population organised by sub-regional bodies such as: the Central American Integration System (SICA for its acronym in Spanish), the Andean Community (CAN), MERCOSUR, Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). In recent years, these bodies have not only recognised a series of rights for the population of African descent, but also assumed political commitments to undertake joint actions to promote respect for and guarantee such rights.

08

Conclusion

“The struggle to eliminate the evil of racial injustice
constitutes one of the major struggles of our time”.

Martin Luther King Jr.

It is important to highlight that the Declaration of Santiago was the first instrument of international human rights law to define the concept of Afro-descendants and recognise the people of African descent as subjects of rights and especially subjects of international human rights law. The Declaration of Santiago drove some states in the region to approve laws in favour of the peoples, communities and populations of African descent and to create public bodies for the promotion of racial quality, as mentioned above.

However, we cannot ignore that the majority of states in the Americas and international organisations do not designate or do not have sufficient human and financial resources to work with the Afro-descendant population. Even so, we are convinced that it is necessary and possible to make more effort to truly include women and men of African descent in the Americas, who live in situations of vulnerability as a consequence of slavery, colonialism, racism and discrimination. The development of the theme of Afro-descendants in international human rights law will be of utmost importance for generating and consolidating standards of protection, public policies and social programmes for the Afro-descendant population.

Finally, we believe that the International Decade for People of African Descent is a perfect opportunity to engage in a serious debate on racism and racial discrimination in the Americas and give importance and priority to the fight against racism and racial discrimination in the region. Its goal is to promote the recognition and development of and justice for millions of people of African descent who have contributed and continue to contribute to building our America with their intellect, spirituality, blood, sweat and tears.

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Roberto Rojas Dávila - Peru

Roberto Rojas Dávila is Chief of the Vulnerable Groups Section of the Organisation of American States (OAS). Lawyer with a post-graduate degree in social management from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a Master in International Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law degree from the American University – Washington College of Law, he is currently pursuing a PhD in Citizenship and Human Rights at the University of Barcelona.

Received in October 2018.

Original in Spanish.