The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban in 2001, adopted the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. This document records a commitment by States to work together to eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It is a comprehensive and action-oriented road map, offering a functional common approach to realize the principles of equality and non-discrimination.
The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action specify that a victim-oriented approach is an important tool to eliminate racial discrimination. Specific reference is made to Africans and people of African descent, Asians and persons of Asian descent, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, minorities, the Roma and others.
Paragraph 7 of the Durban Programme of Action specifically "requests the Commission on Human Rights to consider establishing a working group or other mechanism of the United Nations to study the problems of racial discrimination faced by people of African descent living in the African Diaspora and make proposals for the elimination of racial discrimination against people of African descent".
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established by Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/68 of 25 April 2002.