LIMA / GENEVA (5 March 2020) – Peru must step up its efforts to end the structural discrimination faced by many Peruvians of African descent and should do more to embrace its Afro-Peruvian history and heritage, said a group of UN experts at the end of their visit to the country.
“The Peruvian Government should fully implement its anti-discrimination regulatory framework that will promote social inclusion and reduce the high levels of inequality and poverty experienced by Afro-Peruvians,” said Ahmed Reid, chair of the UN Working Group on People of African Descent, presenting a statement at the end of the visit.
The bicentennial of the independence of Peru next year also offers an important opportunity to recognize the important contributions of people of African descent to the country; build a repository of Afro-Peruvian culture; and re-negotiate Peruvian national identity to include Afro-Peruvians, said the Working Group.
“We welcome the many good practices and positive steps taken by the Government to guarantee the human rights of people of African descent in Peru. We also applaud the efforts made to promote the rights of Afro-Peruvians by the Afro-Peruvian civil society, human rights defenders, lawyers and academics whom we met,” Reid said. “However, 60 percent of Peruvians still perceive racial discrimination against Afro-Peruvian people,” he said.
“The pervasiveness of structural discrimination faced by Afro-Peruvians is reflected in stark disparities in education, employment, housing and health; and in the inadequate standard of living they experience,” added the Working Group, which included human rights experts Dominique Day and Sabelo Gumedze.
During its official visit from 25 February to 4 March, the delegation travelled to Lima, Yapatera, Piura, Chiclayo, Chincha and Ica. The Group will present its report and full recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2020.
The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent was established on 25 April 2002 by the then Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference against Racism held in Durban in 2001. It is composed of five independent experts: Mr. Ahmed Reid (Jamaica) current Chair-Rapporteur; Ms Dominique Day (United States of America); Mr. Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa), Mr. Ricardo A. Sunga III (the Philippines) and Mr. Michal Balcerzak (Poland).
The Working Group is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.
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