UN creates permanent body to address challenges of racism

  • The UN General Assembly approved a resolution establishing a Permanent Forum of People of African Descent to provide expert advice on addressing the challenges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
  • The resolution adopted by consensus by the 193-member world body also calls for the forum to serve as “a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent” and their full inclusion in the societies where they live.
  • The forum’s establishment comes during the International Decade for People of African Descent, established by the General Assembly, which began on January 1, 2015, and ends on December 31, 2024. It is focusing on the themes of recognition, justice and development.
  • The resolution approved by the General Assembly says that despite efforts to combat racism, instances and various forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance remain widespread and should be condemned.
  • The assembly said, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies.” The assembly called the global fight against racism “a matter of priority for the international community”.
  • The Permanent Forum of People of African Descent was given a series of mandates. They include helping to ensure “the full political, economic and social inclusion of people of African descent”, and providing expert advice and recommendations on addressing racism to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, the General Assembly’s main committees and UN agencies.
  • The resolution said the forum will consist of 10 members — five elected by the General Assembly from all regions and five appointed by the Human Rights Council following consultations with regional groups and organizations of people of African descent.