On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, States must strengthen their normative and Institutional frameworks

Washington DC, March 21, 2017. On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights adheres to all forms of expressions from state and non-state actors, international organizations, and everyone who today, express their commitment to reinforce efforts leading to the elimination of racial discrimination.

Particularly, we wish to express admiration and recognition to the many Afrodescendant communities and organizations with whom we work with in Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, and the Dominican Republic), as well as the regional networks of Afrodescendants. These defenders work tirelessly day and night to protect the rights of the most excluded and discriminated Afrodescendant communities in their countries. Their work and compromise are incessant, despite the structural nature of racial discrimination which they suffer. They continue to systematically develop initiatives and proposals to help their states fulfill their duty and commitment to eliminate racial discrimination. However, states must make greater efforts to listen to them and to incorporate them as differentiated public policies to overcome this historical exclusion.

These efforts from Afrodescendant communities in the region must be met with a more resolute response from States to devote more resources to overcome the cause and consequence of racial discrimination. In this aspect, the Institute urges all states in the region to follow the leadership of Costa Rica in ratifying the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and other forms of Intolerance.

The Institute also expresses its appreciation of the analysis offered on March 17, 2017 by the Human Rights Council in its commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, with a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration. The moderator of the panel was Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), and was composed of a panel of various actors, delegations and members of the Council, such as the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance Mutuma Ruteere, among others.

Ms. Crickley started the debate saying that the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was an opportunity to address the connected and changing contexts and contemporary concerns of addressing racism in 2017.  The context of migration provided a global and complex current challenge for addressing racism, racial profiling and incitement to hatred for each State.

Mr. Ruteere followed saying the day’s debate was important to a world where migration and mass movements of populations had emerged as urgent political and moral questions.  In too many places, those fleeing persecution or crossing borders in search of a better life had found themselves cast as threats to security, and their faith and hopes had been met with hostility, prejudice and even violence.  He also discussed the legal, political and regulatory frameworks prohibiting racial and ethnic profiling.

Other speakers, such as Ms. Rokhaya Diallo, journalist and filmmaker; Mrs. Rachel Neild of Open Society; and Mr. Milos Pavlou of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, stressed that in many circumstances, racism comes from the same States through the development of racial profiling, and that Member States and EU institutions must take steps to eradicate these practices and build trust in societies.

The Institute reaffirms its commitment to continue interacting with state and non-state actors, regional and international organizations, and other avenues of dialogue to promote racial equality.

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