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The United Nations (UN) Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent convened its 32nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland from this week (May 1st – 5th). The International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly-Guyana (IDPADA-G), along with civil society leaders from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and North America participated in the important session that focused on the Economic Empowerment of people of African descent.
At the opening session, on May 1st, Dr. Barbara Reynolds, an African Guyanese member of the Working Group, was elected to serve as its new Chairperson. The newly elected chair presided over a very productive 32nd session that was intended “to examine, how systemic racism and global economic structures and financial mechanisms affect the economic and financial empowerment of people of African descent, tracing the trajectories and impacts of enslavement, colonisation, segregation, and apartheid over the centuries, and providing an analysis of anticipated future trends to draw conclusions and make recommendations”.
Guyanese attorney-at -law Mr. Nigel Hughes served as a panelist in these discussions.
The discussions which were held over the 5-day session, the Working Group drew attention to the agency of people of African descent as one of, if not the, strongest forces in their own economic empowerment and addressed reparations for people of African descent. The session also included in-depth discussions on the multiple and diverse forms of racial inequality and racial discrimination that fuel poverty, economic inequality, and violations of the inalienable human rights of people of African descent across the globe.
Participants explored the manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in various sectors and their impact on the right of people of African descent to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, and live in communities where their human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised.