The Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights works to promote racial and ethnic equality for Afro-descendant and indigenous communities – a unique focus among international human rights organizations. We work with Afro-descendant and LGBTI organizations in Colombia, as well as with a wide range of organizations in Latin America fighting racial discrimination or discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In Colombia, where a brutal civil war has raged for decades, the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights strengthens local Afro-Colombian counterparts to confront the limited and contradictory governmental policies against Afro-descendant victims of forced internal displacement and victims of racial discrimination. We reveal patterns of racial discrimination against Afro-Colombians, particularly those which limit their access to education and land.

The Institute provides technical assistance to our counterparts in order to improve their capacity to advocate before the Colombian government and Organization of American States (OAS) to achieve recognition of the ethnic dimension of the internal armed conflict and, consequently, the adoption of a differential focus for satisfying the needs of displaced Afro-Colombians. The Institute also works to increase the capacity of Afro-Colombian lawyers to access and influence regional and international human rights bodies.

We also work to heighten the visibility of the Afro-descendant LGBTI population and provide training to increase the advocacy capacity of organizations working with the Afro-descendant and indigenous LGBTI populations at the national and international levels.

The Institute strengthens the capacity of our counterparts and the leaders of the various countries in which we work, so that they may actively participate in the OAS General Assembly, the Summit of the Americas Process, the Inter-American Human Rights Protection System, as well as the United Nations committee that monitors the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the committee that monitors the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), through the provision of training, technical assistance, and political advocacy.

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