Bogota; May 21, 2020 – On Afro-Colombian Day 2020, the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race & Equality) shares the following statement:
Race & Equality marks Afro-Colombian Day 2020 by honoring the work of the Afro-Colombian organizations and communities with whom we partner. We salute these groups and the whole Afro-Colombian people for the resilience they show in combatting the racism and structural racial discrimination that permeate Colombian society and the actions of the Colombian State. Despite adversity, Afro-Colombians assert their presence in the political and cultural spheres by carrying on the work of historical memory, affirming their ethnic heritage, defending their territorial claims and making invaluable contributions to the Colombian peace process.
Since last year’s celebration of Afro-Colombian Day, the human rights situation for Afro-Colombians has not improved. Violence against Afro-Colombians, especially community leaders and human rights defenders, has worsened in much of the country. The promises of the “Ethnic Chapter” in the Colombian Peace Accords have not materialized. For Afro-Colombians, the post-conflict era has brought not new opportunities, but instead new threats to their rights, autonomy and lives.
The COVID-19 crisis has dramatized the effects of racial discrimination on the lives of Afro-Colombians, who are suffering particularly negative impacts and an inadequate government response. Afro-Colombian organizations and communities have undertaken collective actions to meet their own needs, but they have not received sufficient support or resources from the State.
In late 2019, Race & Equality accompanied a coalition of Afro-Colombian organizations in presenting an alternative report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) during its review of Colombia. The CERD accepted favorably the analysis and recommendations presented by these organizations, including them in the Concluding Observations of the review. On Afro-Colombian Day 2020, Race & Equality urges the Colombian State to implement these recommendations, particularly:
- Correcting the results of the 2018 Census, which systematically undercounted Afro-Colombians, and implementing new Census policies that reflect Colombia’s demographic realities
- Fully implementing Law 70 (1993)
- Fully implementing the “Ethnic Chapter” in the Final Peace Accords
- Compliance with legislation and court rulings protecting the rights of Afro-Colombian conflict victims
Race & Equality is committed to continuing our support of Afro-Colombian organizations and communities as they protect and promote their rights. We hope to celebrate advancements in these rights throughout the next year and on Afro-Colombian Day 2021.