Exhibit and book celebrate contributions of people of African descent

The woman in the photo wears a headscarf. She smiles wide and looks directly at the audience.

“I am a Palestinian of African descent with roots in Brazil,” she says.  

The woman’s portrait is one of 11 posters depicting the different faces of and information about people of African descent. It is part of an exhibition that took place in New York to celebrate the Decade for People of African Descent. The launch event, which also features a publication giving more information about the Decade, took place in the UN Headquarters in New York.

The exhibition features a series of panels that have portraits of people of African descent from a variety of places, as well as information on events and issues about the Decade. There is also information on the transatlantic slave trade, which was responsible for the forced enslavement of millions of men and women from the African continent centuries ago.

“Compared to hundreds of years of racism and discrimination, the Decade is a short period. It is an opportunity to push hard. . .to robustly enforce laws and implement policies and programmes to bring tangible improvements to the lives of people of African descent,” said Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic, during the launch.

The publication provides a primer on the Decade, including what Members States and individuals can do at various levels to help promote and improve life for people of African descent where they are.

In 2014, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, in an effort to “strengthen national, regional, an international cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights” by people of African descent. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was designated to coordinate the Decade.

The Decade focuses on three areas – recognition, justice and development and will provide a platform honing efforts to improve protection and fulfilment of human rights, promote greater knowledge of the diverse heritage and contributions of people of African descent, and adopt and strengthen legal frameworks on eliminating all forms of racial discrimination.

“Fighting racism and discrimination starts by teaching respect and tolerance by sharing the common history of all humanity, including its most tragic chapters,” said Marie Paule Roudil, Director of UNESCO in New York. UNESCO and the UN Department of Public Information are partners with the Office in the Decade campaign.

The exhibition and brochure are available for view online, for those unable to get to the New York to view the exhibition.

21 January 2016

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