VIDEO: For the inclusion of the Afro-Panamanian people in the 2020 Census!
The situation of Afro-descendant peoples in Latin America cannot be understood without reference to structural practices of racism and discrimination that underlie the social, economic and political contexts of most countries in the region. Violence, poverty, unemployment and lack of guarantees of access to health, education and decent housing all affect the lives of Afro-descendant […]
The situation of Afro-descendant
peoples in Latin America cannot be understood without reference to structural
practices of racism and discrimination that underlie the social, economic and
political contexts of most countries in the region. Violence, poverty,
unemployment and lack of guarantees of access to health, education and decent
housing all affect the lives of Afro-descendant communities. Most of these
challenges go unrecognized by regional governments due to a lack of statistical
data that could shed light on the cycles of exclusion affecting Afro-descendants.
Without this data, there can be no plans, projects or public policies to
guarantee the full exercise of Afro-descendants’ fundamental rights.
According to data from
Panama’s National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) gathered in recent
household survey exercises in preparation for the 2020 census, the
Afro-Panamanian population has increased from 9.2% to 24.5% of the country’s
total population over the last ten years.
In response to this change,
the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality), along
with multiple Afro-Panamanian civil society organizations, has been working for
the defense, promotion and recognition of Afro-descendant rights in Panama. We
have carried out this work through projects that increase the visibility of Afro-descendant
communities, strengthen self- and communal identification and increase the
effectiveness of guaranteed rights in Panama. The inclusion of the
Afro-descendant population in the upcoming 2020Population and Housing
Census is vital for complete recognition of the Afro-Panamanian community.
The census is also a fundamental arena for participation and empowerment, allowing
communities to identify the problems that affect them and to demand the
attention of the Panamanian State.
To guarantee real and
effective participation of Afro-Panamanians in the 2020 census, Afro-Panamanian
social organizations, with the support of Race and Equality, have launched an
awareness-raising campaign for Afro-descendant people. This campaign
encompasses a training strategy that facilitates dialogue and empowerment,
helping Afro-Panamanians to understand the importance of their participation
and the impact of the census on their human rights.
“Certainly, the 2010 census did not yield accurate and precise data on the reality of Afro-Panamanian peoples: according to the census, that year only 9% of the population recognized themselves as Afro-descendants, a situation that left us deeply concerned because this did not correspond to the reality. After investigating and analyzing the situation, we realized that many people either did not understand the term ‘Afro-Panamanian’ or did not identify with it. We therefore determined that the under-counting was due to a lack of understanding of the ethnic identity question and to the survey designer’s lack of knowledge in writing the question. For that reason, during this census we are explaining that there are many different terms to describe ‘Afro-descendant Panamanian” -Afro-Panamanian leader.
In order to guarantee
recognition and inclusion for Afro-Panamanian people by ensuring that they understand
the census question on ethnic/racial identity, or the “Afro-descendant question”
as some people call it, we have produced an audiovisual material entitled “Afro-Panamanian
2020 Census.” This tool that will be promoted across social networks in order to
increase public knowledge of the different ethnic groups and ethnicity categories
that will be used during the census.
We invite you to share
this video to ensure the inclusion of the Afro-Panamanian people in the results
of the 2020 census.
Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) will continue
to work for the fundamental rights of Afro-Panamanians, seeking to ensure recognition,
respect and guarantees for their rights in order to build an inclusive and
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