Colombia, March 23, 2023. In the framework of the commemoration of March 21, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, human rights organizations request the National Government of Colombia to actively promote the ratification of the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance (CIRDI for its Spanish acronym) in accordance with the recent bill that seeks its ratification.
This Convention, adopted by the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2013, establishes an international legal framework for the protection and promotion of the human rights of all persons, without distinction as to race, color, ancestry, or ethnic origin. It also seeks to prevent and eliminate racial discrimination and other forms of intolerance, promote equality, and combat racism in all its forms.
In 2014, the Colombian government signed two Inter-American human rights instruments: the Inter-American Convention Against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance, and the Inter-American Convention Against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance. Both instruments strengthen the domestic regulatory framework in the fight against all forms of discrimination, recognizing that Colombia is a multiethnic country and respectful of diversity; however, to date these international instruments have not been ratified. In 2021, a bill was presented in Congress to achieve the ratification of CIRDI; the bill is the result of a collective process with different actors of the Indigenous and Roma (Gypsy) peoples, and led by Afro-Colombian activists thanks to the CIRDI 2024 Campaign “Towards a region free of racial discrimination” promoted by Race and Equality with the objective of promoting the ratification and universal and effective implementation of CIRDI in the Americas.
In Colombia, racism and racial discrimination continue to be a reality in the daily lives of many people, making them victims of multiple human rights violations in all social spheres. It is therefore essential that the State adhere to this Convention and commit to guaranteeing the right to equality and non-discrimination in all spheres of public and private life.
The ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance (CIRDI) is a crucial step to consolidate the commitment of the Colombian Government in the promotion and guarantee of human rights and the fight against structural racism and racial discrimination. In this sense, we call on the national government to promote its prompt ratification and to articulate in all its actions, programs, and reforms the provisions of this Convention, which develops important measures based on the specific realities of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the national context in the fight against racism and racial discrimination. For example, in actions related to police reform against racial profiling practices and human rights training from an intersectional perspective; actions against racial discrimination in educational institutions; measurement strategies that guarantee the collection of data disaggregated by ethno-racial affiliation; and, in general, the implementation of measures that articulate an ethno-racial approach from an intersectional and racial justice perspective.
Finally, the undersigned organizations reiterate the need to follow up on the bill that seeks the ratification of CIRDI, in order to eradicate all forms of racism and racial discrimination in the country.
Asociación Nacional de Afrocolombianos Desplazados – AFRODES.
Coordinación de Mujeres Afrocolombianas Desplazadas en Resistencia – La COMADRE.
Convergencia Nacional de Organizaciones Afrocolombianas – CNOA.
Colectivo Justicia Racial.
Fundación Afrodescendiente por las diversidades sociales y sexuales Somos Identidad.
Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia- ONIC.
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights