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Published on Dec 7, 2016
International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
Interactive dialogue under agenda item 9 - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up to and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
Delivered by Ms. Alessia Vedano
Thank you Mr. Vice-President,
We would like to thank the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent for their detailed report. Indeed, we share their concerns with regards to the increasingly worrying “Afrophobic” sentiment spreading around the world, and in particular in those Western countries which have for centuries exploited these very same people for their own economic gains.
As the Working Group has put it, colonial history, the legacies of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, and policies on race remain a serious challenge in many countries. We strongly agree with the Experts that addressing those forms of bias requires the adoption of regional and national laws to create the potential for restitution, compensation and satisfaction for those affected.
In addition, our organizations would like to highlight the danger posed by the spreading of Islamophobic ideologies across Europe following the latest waves of migration. In these regards, a worrying number of radical political parties that promote hatred against Arab Muslims have gained wide consensus in the European political scene and overseas. These are only likely to increase racial discrimination and racism, which, as history teaches, can lead to catastrophic consequences. We therefore suggest that the Working Group takes this into careful account in their future reports.
Furthermore, we deeply regret that the UN is dedicating less and less attention to this important matter and certainly less resources to the anti-racism activities of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). We believe that the Working Group should enhance its cooperation with civil society, as it represents an important asset in the promotion and protection of principles of equality and tolerance for diversity.
During this time of crisis, instruments to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia should be created instead of being reduced. We therefore call on the Human Rights Council to adopt a multiyear outreach programme for the DDPA mobilization, because, to quote Martin Luther King “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”