Draft Policy work: 20th Session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, 3 – 7 April, 2017

Background Policy Development led by

one of our UN Scholars,

Dr Michael McEachrane

(2014-2015) Advisor to the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for their country report on Sweden

(2016) 14th Session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 5-14 October

(2017) 20th Session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 3-7 April

(2017) Statement on restorative and reparatory justice on the behalf of the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD). UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) 10th Session. United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 10 July

Publications and Outputs

Click here.

20th Session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, 3 – 7 April, 2017

(WGEPAD) Draft Conclusions and Recommendations

Click here.

Here are our areas of policy influence in their draft report:

15. The role of civil society in the work of the Working Group remains critical. The Working Group noted that civil society reported common manifestations of structural racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance faced by people of African descent. The Working Group seeks to strengthen its engagement with civil society to further enhance its work by exploring innovative ways including the use of modern technology to allow wide participation of people of African descent.

16. The International Decade for people of African descent aims at raising the issue of the historical, economic, political and cultural non-recognition of the people of African descent who were victims of the Transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, enslavement and colonialism. It also aims to deconstruct racism. The International Decade offers the possibility of bringing together States, civil society, multilateral institutions, to elaborate ways to effectively address the fundamental basis of knowledge and rights of people of African descent . The Agenda 2063, adopted by African Union and rooted in panAfricanism and African renaissance is also an important reference in this regard.

21. The Working Group will conduct consultations in countries of interest to its mandate on prevention of racial discrimination against people of African descent with development and financial institutions. The consultations will be organized in cooperation with Governments, UN Country Teams, National Human Rights Institutions, Equality Bodies and civil society and other relevant national stakeholders. The purpose would be to field test the operational guidelines on how to integrate the human rights concerns of people of African descent into SDG implementation.

24. Include opportunities for national, regional, and international civil society organizations to submit reports on progress of the SDGs in countries for which they have the expertise and experience and to participate in intergovernmental review processes at the regional and international levels.

26. In order to advance the SDGs, States must provide effective, accountable and inclusive public institutions which must, inter alia, effectively protect the human rights of people of African descent. The Working Group is recommending community-based monitoring of the SDGs. Grassroots organizations can become active partners for change

28. States must ensure that people of African descent have access to quality education which enables them to compete at an equal footing with others in the labour market. States must acknowledge the persistence of structural racism and multiple forms of discrimination within the education system and must therefore put in place appropriate legislation and affirmative action policies to tackle the problem. School curriculum for all should take into consideration an accurate account of history of Transatlantic Trade in enslaved Africans, enslavement, and colonialism.

29. States should ratify international agreements related to the fight against racism and discrimination in education. To this end, the Working Group calls for the universal ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) as well as its Optional Protocol, approved in December 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly, and the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education.

37. The Working Group calls upon Member States and the UN agencies and programmes, as well as international development and financial programmes to empower and connect grassroots and other civil society representatives who are working together to seek recognition and justice for legacies of enslavement and colonialism

39. The International Decade and the SDGs must meet the aspirations of people of African descent. The Durban Declaration and Plan of Action must be reaffirmed and States must guarantee its implementation. The Working Group urges Member States to reach consensus so that the Forum for people of African descent can be held as soon as possible, before the end of 2017. In order for the Forum to reflect the concerns of the States and civil society, it is desirable to open a consultation with civil society organizations to work on the format of the Forum. The Forum should, inter alia, discuss on sources of racism and Afrophobia, the question of reparatory justice, as well as the overall theme of the International Decade- recognition, justice and development. The work in the Forum should primarily lead to the development of the UN Declaration on People of African Descent and other tangible results.