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UN creates permanent body to address challenges of racism

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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 new body’s creation comes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the controversial September 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery. 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.

It calls for the forum’s first session to take place in 2022.

The documents also expressed deep regret at the human suffering caused by slavery, and acknowledged that slavery and the slave trade are crimes against humanity and should always have been so.

The resolution approved on Monday 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.”

“Any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races,” it said.

The assembly called the global fight against racism “a matter of priority for the international community”.


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