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Invisible no more: People of African descent demand rights in Argentina

18 March 2019


GENEVA / BUENOS AIRES (18 March 2019) — Argentina must address the long-standing invisibility and persistent structural discrimination faced by Afro-Argentines, people of African descent and Africans, says a group of UN human rights experts* visiting the country.

“Argentina should come to terms with the reality that people of African descent are a vulnerable group deserving special measures,” said Michal Balcerzak, presenting a statement at the end of the visit.

The Working Group said Afro-Argentines and people of African descent were not fully able to enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights.

“In order to ensure that the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda truly leaves no one behind and racial discrimination is addressed, Afro-Argentines and other people of African descent must be recognised and specific programmes developed to protect their human rights,” Mr. Balcerzak said.

The delegation, which included human rights experts Sabelo Gumedze and Ricardo Sunga, welcomed the initiatives undertaken by the Government to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and in particular its work to develop a national Afro-descendant Program and action plan to implement the International Decade for People of African descent (2015-2024).

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to including an Afro-descendant option in the general questionnaire of the National Population, Household and Housing Census to be carried out in the year 2020,” added Mr. Balcerzak.

During their visit from 11 to 18 March, the Working Group travelled to Buenos Aires, Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe to investigate racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance affecting people of African descent in Argentina.

The Working Group will present a report with its findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019.


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. Michal Balcerzak (Poland), current Chair-Rapporteur; Mr. Ahmed Reid (Jamaica); MsDominique Day (United States of America); Mr.Sabelo Gumedze (South Africa), and Mr. Ricardo A. Sunga III (The Philippines).

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Proceduresof the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Argentina

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