As part of the awareness raising campaign for the International Decade, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is organizing five regional meetings. Such meetings focus on trends, priorities and challenges at the national and regional levels to effectively implement the Decade’s Programme of Activities. The meetings are also an occasion to exchange good practices.
This second regional meeting on 23-24 November in Geneva provided an opportunity to reflect on ways and means that governments from Europe, Central Asia and North America in partnership with equality bodies, national human rights institutions, civil society, development agencies and regional organizations, may pursue to integrate the provisions of the Programmes of Activities in their policies, programmes and strategies tailored for people of African descent.
There are around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent. Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, they constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security.
The Government of Canada is committed to build a better, more inclusive country that recognizes the contributions of all, and creates better opportunities for more Canadians.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the Government of Canada will officially recognize the International Decade for People of African Descent. This Decade, which spans from 2015 to 2024, is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the important contributions people of African descent have made to Canadian society. It also provides a framework for recognition, justice, and development to fight racism, discrimination, and the ongoing inequalities that Canadians of African descent face.
The Government of Canada has heard from concerned citizens and organizations from across Canada, including the Federation of Black Canadians, that we need to do more to work with and support Canadians of African descent.
In recognizing the International Decade, the Government of Canada commits to a better future for Black Canadians. This means learning more about the issues that affect Black Canadians, including improving research and data collection, so we can better understand the particular challenges they face. Mental health challenges and overrepresentation in the corrections system have been raised in particular by community leaders as barriers to Black Canadians experiencing full and equal participation across society.