Call for Papers for the
28th Special Issue

Sur - International Journal on Human Rights

Race and Human Rights: Moving Structures


Conectas Human Rights and Geledés – Black Women’s Institute invites contributions in the form of essays, case studies, institutional reflections and artistic pieces – with preference given to authors of colour from the Global South or who belong to other racial groups historically discriminated – for the 28th edition of Sur – International Journal on Human Rights, to be published in December 2018. The deadline for submissions is October 6th, 2018.

The objective of this special issue is to place race at the centre of the human rights debate today. We do this not to present the question of race as a perspective separated from other key debates in the field of human rights. On the contrary, we consider race as a structuring element which determines how rights are historically unequally conceived, enjoyed and denied in Brazil – and elsewhere. In this issue, we understand race broadly as an indicator of social differences that include issues of ethnicity, colour, caste, and other related issues.

The objective of the Sur – International Journal on Human Rights, published by Conectas, is to influence the global human rights agenda by producing, fostering and disseminating innovative research and ideas, primarily from the Global South, on human rights practice. Sur is an open access journal, edited in English, Spanish and Portuguese and has an online ( and print readership of over 20,000 people in more than 100 countries.

In its 14 years of existence, the Sur Journal has only published two articles on racism – an article by the philosopher Djamila Ribeiro in its 24th issue and a profile of Jôice Cleide Santiago, who fights against religious and environmental racisms, in the 25th issue. This special issue begins a new trajectory that connects racism to other contemporary human rights violations.

Race and Human Rights: Moving Structures

Sur Journal convenes, for its 28th issue, a debate between academics and human rights activists on how today’s inequalities are structured by race and how movements have been leading anti-racism struggles. This issue will have as guest editor Sueli Carneiro, founder of the Geledés – Black Women’s Institute and historical anti-racism activist. In addition, Thiago Amparo, professor in the area of diversity and anti-discrimination at the FGV Law School in São Paulo will be the executive editor and Maryuri Mora Grisales will be assistant editor.

The 28th issue of the Sur Journal aims to place racial issues at the centre of the human rights debate in the 21st century from the perspective of anti-racism activists and movements. Sur Journal seeks contributions in the form of essays, case studies, institutional reflections and artistic pieces on the following or related topics:

Thematic issues

1. Why does racial inequality persist?

Data on racial inequality and racism reveals the resilience of systems of racial oppression. The legacies of Jim Crow, slavery and the apartheid system continue and reproduce themselves every day in the United States, Brazil and South Africa, respectively. The World Bank has found that South Africa is the most unequal country in the world, which disproportionately impacts the country’s black population.11. It is estimated that the income of whites and blacks will ony be equal in Brazil in 2089, provided that austerity measures do not further deepen income inequalities in the country.22. OXFAM, A Distância Que Nos Une, 2017,

In all three countries, especially with the advent of social media and the militarisation of daily life, racists have increasingly come out of the closet, and in a violent way. There are, for example, 954 active hate groups in the United States alone.33. Southern Poverty Law Center, In Brazil, activists have reported an ongoing genocide against black youth – between 2015 and 2016, 76% of victims of police interventions were black men. At the intersection between gender and race, inequalities in Brazil also persist: between 2005 and 2015, killings against black women increased by 22%, while killings against white women decreased by 7.4%.44. Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública, Um Retrato da Violência contra Negros e Negras no Brasil, 2017, available at:

Sur Journal invites authors to share practical experiences and reflections on the following issues, among others:

2. How do black movements and other historically discriminated racial and ethnic groups propose to reverse the scenario of racial inequality?

Black women’s marches in Brazil and the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, to name just two examples, have taken thousands of people to the streets against structural racism and sexism. The execution of the black and LGBT city councillor Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro and her driver Anderson Gomes in March 2018, still unsolved, is one of the cruellest facets of structural racism in Brazil and has become a symbol of the anti-racism struggle. What are the narratives, perspectives and standpoints that contemporary movements apply to their political struggles against racism?

Sur Journal invites authors to share practical experiences and reflections on the following issues, among others:

3. What strategies have movements and human rights organisations used in their fight against racism?

The post-Durban dream did not become reality. 17 years after the III World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban in South Africa, race still persists as one of the foundations of inequality in the world. Despite the central role of the Durban Conference in addressing the issue of racial discrimination at the top of the international human rights agenda, including what remedies states and the international community should implement to combat it, these remedies suffer from severe resistance. In this regard, there is an urgent need to resume racial debate among human rights movements with a view to the reconstruction of human rights policies for racial equality in the post-Durban context.

In addition, there is a lively debate on racial diversity among human rights organisations,55. Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership, Advancing Racial Equity Within Nonprofit Organizations, 2018, human rights foundations66. Center for Effective Philanthropy, Nonprofit Diversity Efforts: Current Practices and the Role of Foundations, Julho de 2018, and even in companies.77. CEERT e Instituto Ethos, Coalizão Empresarial para Equidade Racial e de Gênero, To what extent can racial diversity discourses contribute to the anti-racist struggle?

Sur Journal invites authors to share practical experiences and bring reflections on the following issues, among others:

4. What is the meaning of race in different contexts in the world, including in postcolonial societies and complex migratory scenarios?

Race has also operated as justification for violations in other parts of the world. Europe has been the scene of xenophobia in the context of migration.99. In Asia, the UN has described as “a classic example of ethnic cleansing”1010. violations of rights against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, which has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people of this ethnic group. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism has reported on racism in countries as diverse as Australia, Mauritania, Hungary and Colombia.1111. The recent mapping of the human genome – scientists1212. New York Times, How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’, warn – may revive theories that, without scientific basis, seek to justify racial superiority.

Sur Journal invites authors to share practical experiences and reflections on the following issues, among others:

Taking these questions into considerations, Sur Journal welcomes submissions (in Portuguese, English or Spanish) between 7,000 – 20,000 characters including spaces in the following formats:



Once submitted, the contributions will be subject to a review process. Each contribution is reviewed by a member of the Editorial team and, if it meets the Journal’s quality standards, by an external blind review. Due to the large number of contributions received for each issue, the Editorial Board is unable to inform authors why a contribution has been rejected.

In relation to authors’ rights, Sur Journal uses o Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 to publish its texts. This preserves the rights of the authors, while allowing readers to share its content.

Any submission that contains citations without appropriate references (plagiarism) will be disregarded immediately.

The Sur Journal does not charge authors a processing or publication fee.


Contributions should be sent to in electronic format (Microsoft Word file) and using the following standards:

The contributions should include:

It is not necessary to include a bibliography at the end of the text. Footnotes will include full citation.
For Latin phrases – inter alia, jus cogens, etc – use italics.