MEETING FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN ON THE INTERNATIONAL DECADE FOR PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DESCENT

Organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Date and venue: The meeting will be held in Brasilia, from 3 to 4 December 2015

Background and purpose of the meeting: The International Decade for People of African Descent adopted by the General Assembly (2015 – 2024) is an opportunity to analyze and improve the human rights situation and well-being of one of the population groups most affected by racism and discrimination. By combating racial discrimination, the Decade will also strengthen democracy, the rule of law and equality in societies. In 2014, by its resolution 69/16, the General Assembly adopted a Programme of Activities, identifying the objectives and outlining specific actions to be taken within the three themes of the International Decade: recognition, justice and development.

As part of the awareness raising campaign for the International Decade, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will organize five regional meetings. Such meetings will focus on trends, priorities and obstacles at the national and regional levels to effectively implement the Programme of Activities. The meetings will be also an occasion to exchange good practices.

The first meeting will be for the Latin American and Caribbean region. The discussion will be structured under the themes of the Decade: recognition, justice and development. The meeting will provide an opportunity to reflect on ways and means that governments from the region in partnership with equality bodies, national human rights institutions, civil society, development agencies and regional organizations, may pursue to integrate the provisions of the Programmes of Activities in their policies, programmes and strategies tailored for people of African descent.

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Participants: The meeting would bring together Member States, United Nations specialized agencies and bodies, regional organizations, national human rights institutions, equality bodies and civil society representatives, particularly people of African descent from the region. Other Member States of the United Nations would be invited to attend as observers. Experts on the topics will be also invited to participate in the meeting.

Documentation and Working languages: The final report of the meeting will be issued as a United Nations document in all official languages.

1. Topics for draft agenda

The draft agenda for the Regional meeting for Latin America and the Caribbean on the International Decade for People of African Descent will be structured under the three themes of the Decade: Recognition, Justice and Development. It is suggested to reflect in the deliberations, under each theme, on the priority areas identified by the Programme of Activities for the Decade and adopted by the General Assembly among others:

Recognition: a) awareness raising and education measures to promote greater knowledge of and respect for culture, history, heritage and positive contribution; b) adoption of anti-racial discrimination laws and public policies, including action plans; d) establishment and strengthening of equality bodies; e) undertake data collection for the promotion of racial equality;

Justice: concrete and effective measures: a) to ensure equal access to justice, equal treatment before tribunals and other organs administering justice, fair trial and effective protection and remedies; b) against racial profiling; c) to prevent and punish all human rights violations including violence, acts of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, including those committed by States officials; d) combat all acts of racism, in particular the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial hatred, violence and racist propaganda; e) special measures, such as affirmative action policies to overcome persistent or structural disparities.

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Development: concrete and effective measures to: a) guarantee active, free and meaningful participation in development and decision-making process and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom; b) give effect to free primary education and access to all levels of quality education; c) protect children from direct or indirect discrimination; d) ensure racial equality in the workplace and equality before labour law; e) equal access to quality health services and adequate housing; f) actions to protect ancestral groups; g) adopt or strengthen national programmes for eradicating poverty and reducing social exclusion.

Compounded discrimination faced by women and girls of African descent will be a crosscutting issue.

Further it is suggested that the above mentioned topics will inform the discussions and guide speakers. Participants may wish to share good practices from their countries or organisations on those or other relevant topics. Experts from the Durban follow-up mechanisms and CERD have been invited to participate in the Meeting and will initiate the discussions on each of the three themes.

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