By John Ikani
The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday marked the first-ever International Day for People of African Descent to celebrate the enormous contributions of Africans in the diaspora to every field of human endeavor.
Delivering his inaugural message at the event, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres called for greater commitment to advance the promise of equality, justice, and dignity for all.
According to him, the commemoration of the first-ever International Day for People of African Descent “is a long-overdue recognition of the profound injustices and systemic discrimination, that people of African descent have endured for centuries and continue to confront today.
“And it is an urgent call to action for everyone, everywhere, to commit to rooting out the evil of racism.
“More than 200 million people in the Americas alone, identify as being of African descent. Millions more are located worldwide outside the African continent.
“Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, they are among some of the poorest and most marginalized groups”.
What you should know
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, establishing the International Day in December 2020.
The objective was to promote greater recognition and respect for the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies and to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent.
The resolution also recalled two related UN initiatives: the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South Africa, and the declaration of the International Decade for People of African Descent, which ran through 2024.
Costa Rica spearheaded efforts to create the international day. The Central American country changed its political constitution in 2015, defining itself as a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation.