Countdown to Human Rights Day
UN Voluntary Fund helps those on the road to recovery from slavery
Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism
17 June 2022
Issued by Special Procedures
Discrimination and intolerance, Racism, Sustainable Development Goals
The present report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 43/36, contains a racial justice and equality analysis of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In the Durban Declaration (2001), the international community reiterates that “poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion and economic disparities are closely associated with racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and contribute to the persistence of racist attitudes and practices which in turn generate more poverty”. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)1, adopted in 2015, constitute the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda) and are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They seek to address key global challenges, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice2. Through the achievement of these goals, States have committed to “Leave no one behind”. The 16 goals have a clear correlation with the enjoyment of human rights recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and other core international human rights instruments.
Racism and xenophobia remain entrenched in society, and result in restrictions or restrictive interpretations of laws, policies and practices, affecting the enjoyment of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of racialized groups, such as people of African and Asian descent, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees. As reiterated by the Special Rapporteur, contemporary forms of discrimination must be understood as a continuation of insufficiently remediated historical forms and structures of racial injustice and inequality3. The members of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) have also reaffirmed that “addressing inequalities therefore also entails addressing structural barriers reversing unequal distributions of power, resources and opportunities, and challenging discriminatory laws, policies, social norms and stereotypes.”4
The purpose of the report is to assess the historical and contemporary relationship among the development framework, especially the 2030 Agenda, and racial justice and equality. The Special Rapporteur will explore how the SDGs can contribute to combating racial discrimination and promote substantive racial equality, with attention to the right to development. The Special Rapporteur will also analyse the main limits, challenges and opportunities of using the SDGs as effective tools in the fight against racism, especially with regard to the continuing legacies of the trans-atlantic slave trade, colonialism and other historical racial injustices.
To inform her report, the Special Rapporteur wishes to receive input from relevant stakeholders, including national and local governments, national and international non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions and equality bodies, inter-governmental organizations, United Nations agencies and entities, activists, academics, and corporations. She invites all interested stakeholders to share their views and provide information on the following:
1 Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms; Goal 2: Zero Hunger; Goal 3: Health; Goal 4: Education; Goal 5: Gender equality and women’s empowerment; Goal 6: Water and Sanitation; Goal 7: Energy; Goal 8: Economic Growth; Goal 9: Infrastructure, industrialization; Goal 10: Inequality; Goal 11: Cities; Goal 12: Sustainable consumption and production; Goal 13: Climate Action; Goal 14: Oceans; Goal 15: Biodiversity, forests, desertification; Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
3 A/74/321, para 20
5 “[T]hese historical injustices have undeniably contributed to the poverty, underdevelopment, marginalization, social exclusion, economic disparities, instability and insecurity that affect many people in different parts of the world, in particular in developing countries. The Conference recognizes the need to develop programmes for the social and economic development of these societies and the Diaspora, within the framework of a new based on the spirit of solidarity and mutual respect”.