Countdown to Human Rights Day
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Permanent Forum on People of African Descent
Epsy Campbell Barr (Costa Rica), Chairperson - a former Vice President of Costa Rica and Minister of Foreign Affairs. She was twice a congressional representative in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica. She is an Afro-feminist and human rights and environmental activist. She is also the founder of the Center for Afro-descendant Women and the Afro-descendant Institute for Study, Research and Development, as well as the Black Parliament of the Americas. She is a researcher with dozens of publications on democracy, inclusion, women’s rights issues, the environment, and on issues of people of African descent and on racism and racial discrimination. She has delivered statements in States, universities, companies, seminars and conferences in various countries of the world. Ms. Campbell Barr has received various international awards for her struggles in favour of sustainable and inclusive societies. She has a Humanities PhD from the University of Brenau, Georgia, and is an economist with Master's Degrees in International Cooperation for Development and Advanced Techniques in Political Participation.
Gaynel Curry (The Bahamas) is an Adjunct Faculty Member at the University of The Bahamas. She has worked on human rights with the United Nations for more than 23 years, including in Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. Ms Curry served as the Gender and Women’s Rights Advisor in OHCHR-New York. She oversaw work on the International Decade for People of African Descent, building on assignments in follow up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action to end racism and promote the rights of People of African Descent. Recently, she led work on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Ms Curry has held several positions in her government, including Director of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs. She holds Master’s Degrees in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford and in International Affairs from the American University in Washington, DC; a Degree in Law (LLB) from the University of London; and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from the University of the West Indies.
Justin Hansford (U.S.A.) is a professor of Law and executive director and founder of the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center. He has a B.A. from Howard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a founder of the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives. Justin Hansford is a leading scholar and activist in the areas of critical race theory, human rights, and law and social movements. He is a co-author of the forthcoming Seventh Edition of “Race, Racism and American Law,” the celebrated legal textbook that was the first casebook published specifically for teaching race-related law courses. In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Hansford worked to empower the Ferguson community through community-based legal advocacy. He has served as a policy advisor for proposed post-Ferguson reforms at the local, state, and federal level, testifying before the Ferguson Commission, the Missouri Advisory Committee to the United States Civil Rights Commission, the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Hongjiang Huang (People’s Republic of China) is working at the Department of International Organizations and Conferences, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. He has spent several years in three different African countries promoting peace, stability and development on the ground, including his assignment at the Chinese Mission to the African Union in Ethiopia, the Chinese Embassy in Liberia and acting as the Senior Advisor to the Chairperson of the Ceasefire and Transition al Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism based in Juba, South Sudan. Mr. Hongjiang used to work at the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations for four years, as a political advisor covering peacekeeping and peacebuilding affairs mainly in central and western Africa, Middle East and Haiti. he holds a MA Degree in International Law from the Foreign Affairs College in China and a BA Degree in English Language and Literature from Xiamen University in China. Mr. Huang Hongjiang has a deep feeling of the livehoods and human rights of African people and people of Afrcian descent. He is determined to join hands with other members of PFPAD to faithfully implement its mandates and advance the long overdue aspirations of people of African descent.
Martin Kimani (Kenya), PhD, CBS, is Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He has recently served as the President’s Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism, as the Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre, and in Strategic Initiatives in the Executive Office of the President. Prior to that, he served as Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Nairobi, as well as to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). In the past 20 years, he has worked to a senior level in the global currency and bond markets, political risk advisory for underwriters and other corporates, and peace and security in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. Ambassador Kimani is a fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He was Distinguished African Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in 2013. He holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College London, University of London.
Pastor Elías Murillo Martínez (Colombia) is a lawyer and currently an Independent consultant, a member of the Steering Committee of the Project “Economist Impact on Inclusion in Health” (The Economist Group). He was a member (2008 -2020) and vice president (2018 -2020) of the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) of the UN. He has over 17 years of experience at the managerial and advisory level of Colombia’s Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs. He has published several essays and opinion columns on the rights of people of African descent. Author and promoter of several international initiatives in favour of people of African descent, including the Year-Decade; CERD’s General Recommendations 34 and 36 on Racism and Racial Discrimination against people of African descent and on racial profiling, which also address algorithmic bias, respectively; as well as CERD’s contributions to the Program of Activities for the Decade, which included an International Declaration on the Rights of People of African Descent, currently in progress.
Michael McEachrane (Sweden), Rapporteur - is an international activist for the human rights of people of African descent as well as a researcher in Black (Nordic and European) Studies, Human Rights Studies and Postcolonialism. As an activist he has, among other things, co-founded several civil society organizations, been deeply involved in the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, the establishment of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent, and EU recognition of the fundamental rights of people of African descent. As a researcher he is, among other things, the editor of Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe, and the author of numerous articles and book chapters on such topics as Pan-Africanism and African diaspora in Europe, anti-discrimination law and systemic racism, and Black Swedish Studies. Currently, he is working on two books, Sweden and the Others: Decolonial Perspectives, and, Decolonial Justice: Black Europeans and Human Rights. He is also a frequent commentator on issues of race for Swedish and international media. Dr. McEachrane is currently a Visiting Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in Sweden.
Alice Angèle Nkom (Cameroon), Vice-Chaiperson - is a lawyer by profession and the President of the Cameroonian Association for the Defence of Homosexuality. She was the first woman called to the Bar Association in Cameroon. Barrister Nkom is also a Member of the National Democratic Institute International Working Group and she is the Co-Chairperson of the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network. Her awards include the 7th Human Rights Award by the German section of Amnesty International in 2014; the Central Africa Shield Award by the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network in 2015; and France’s Liberty Prize in 2018. Barrister Nkom studied at the University of Toulouse in France and the Federal University of Cameroon.
Mona Omar (Egypt) is a career diplomat with over 35 years of experience in diplomacy, having served as Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt for Africa and as Ambassador of Egypt to several countries. She is currently a Member of the High Experts Committee of the African Union Peace and Security Council; board member of the National Council of Women in Egypt; board member of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Relations; member of the Board of Trustees of the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa; chair of the Board of Salema, an NGO working on combatting violence against women; member of the Board of Trustees of Universities of Canada in Egypt; CEO of Afrodev, a consultancy firm on Africa; adviser on Africa to the President of the General Authority for Construction and Housing Co-operatives; board member of the African Association for Tourism and Development, and a lecturer and trainer on African affairs and women affairs. Recently, she also served as a member the Peer Review Mechanism of the African Union, and as a member of the Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council.
June Soomer (Saint Lucia), PhD, SLC, was the first woman to receive a PhD in History from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, the first woman to serve as the Saint Lucian Ambassador to CARICOM, the OECS and Diaspora Affairs; an OECS Commissioner; the Secretary General of the Association of Caribbean States (2016 -2020) and Chair of the Open Campus Council of the University of the West Indies. She has served on many national and regional committees and has received numerous awards, including most recently The Order of José de Marcoleta in the Degree of Grand Cross from the Republic of Nicaragua in the area of diplomacy, August 2021; The Saint Lucia Cross for distinguished service in the fields of Education, Diplomacy, Regionalism and Development Specialty, February 2021. She is a member of the Saint Lucia Reparations Committee. She writes on regional integration, reparations and on women during enslavement.