Declaration of Afro Descendents
Preparatory Conference of the Americas Against Racism
Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
Declaration of African Descendants
December 5-7, 2000
Affirming that the main victims of racism in the Americas are African descendants and indigenous peoples. Recognizing the contributions of Africans and their descendants to the creation of the wealth, cultures and societies of the Americas. Affirming that slavery constitutes a crime against humanity which imposes on states and multilateral organizations the moral and ethical obligation to make reparations. Noting that African descendants in the Americas are the victims of multiple forms of discrimination including institutional, systemic and structural practices, some of which are perpetrated by states themselves; Deploring the global imbalances in power and wealth, created by 500 years of genocide, slavery, colonialism, and other gross forms of exploitation, which gravely impede the development of African descendants; Acknowledging the fundamental role of women of African descent in the development of our peoples and communities, even though historically they have faced the worst conditions, greatest marginalization and systematic exclusion; Denouncing state practices that deny the existence of racism and its consequences for African descendants; Recognizing that participatory democracy constitutes the fundamental premise for combating racism and guaranteeing the human, economic, cultural and social rights of African descendants; Recognizing that racism is a major determinant of health that has a devastating impact on African decendants including but not limited to the HIV/AIDS and mental health.
African descendants gathered in Santiago make the following:
We affirm that African descendants have the right to our cultural identities, to recognition of those identities and to the adoption of measures that protect and develop them, as well as educational systems and institutions that respect our history, cultures, and identities. We condenm the situation of exclusion and marginalization that leaves our peoples submerged in poverty in all the Americas, a situation aggravated by the implementation of economic policies and development models that do not respect diversity, promote homogeneity, and perpetuate the systematic violation of our economic, political, social and cultural rights. As a consquence, we demand that states, multilateral organizations and private enterprise adopt compensatory measures, including reparations. We consider that racism and racial discrimination manifest themselves in different and profound ways against women of African descent and worsen their precarious living conditions and systematic exclusion in the political, social, economic and cultural spheres, with nefarious consequences on the new generations of African descendants. We reiterate that the youth, migrants and internally displaced peoples of African descent are submitted to conditions of multiple discrimination, which limit their full access to education, housing, employment, health and education services, and to the full enjoyment of human development. We manifest our concern about new forms of racism and racial discrimination like environmental racism, which make areas of settlement and territories inhabited by peoples of African descent places of transit and deposit of toxic products and nuclear waste and of installation of businesses that lack minimum environmental standards. We call attention also to the problem of access to the new communication technologies and their utilization for the diffusion of racist and xenophobic messages. We also denounce inadequate access to preventive and curative health services, which severely affects our communites, especially people with HIV/AIDS. We affirm the right of our peoples to ancestrally occupied land and territories and natural resources, to their management, control and use, and to their protection by adequate mechanisms of traditional know-how and practices. We observe with concern that systematic pressure is applied by violent, legal, and administrative methods on these territories, lands and natural resources, which generates forced internal displacements, migrations, impoverishment of ecosystems and higher levels of poverty, exclusion, and marginality. We highlight with concern the negative impacts on our lands, territories, and natural resources, and on our life and culture, of the implementation of mega projects and the absence of adequate consulting mechanisms. We note that peoples of African descent are victims of grave discriminatory treatment in legal and judicial processes, as well as police procedures. We denounce the inhuman situation of prisons, which affects in particular African descendants. We repudiate the application of the death penalty. We affirm that African descendants people have the irrevocable right to cultural, self-determination and political autonomy and to conduct our destinies, to participate on equal terms and by means of adequate mechanisms in the decisions that affect us and in all decisions of our societies. We observe with concern the absence of adequate social and political representation in all the spheres of our societies lives. We express the need to strengthen our peoples areas of activity and forms of organization as an indispensable condition to the strengthening of democracy and the fight against racism. We recognize the right of peoples to self-determination, for which reason we condemn colonialism, which subjugates the inalienable rights of sister nations and peoples in the Americas. We demand respect for our fundamental right to development consistent with our worldview, and we emphasize the general inexistence of policies and specific pertinent measures in the area of development and the inefficacy of those adopted by states to overcome poverty, exclusion, and marginality.
That the nation states that participated in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and in the system of enslavement of Africans must begin serious and profound discussions with African descendants directed to identifying and implementing appropriate compensatory remedies, including reparations. That the Decade of African Peoples of African Descent be declared as from the year 2002. That the Office of the High Commissioner authorizes a representative of the peoples of African descent to address the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Forms of Intolerance in South Africa. That a special fund be established for the institutional strengthening and promotion of development of African communities. That multilateral, financial, development, and human rights organizations formulate diagnostic indicators of the effectiveness of their policies and programs directed to the strengthening of African communities. We call on states to adopt urgent legisltation and other measures of recognition, demarcation and protection of rights to land, territories and natural resources, to the promotion of full development of the communities that live in them and the restitution of environmentally damaged lands and territories. We call on states to establish, in cooperation with peoples of African descendants, political and administrative measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance and to assign adequate and appropriate resources for their implementation. That in all public policies and in the Plan of Action that comes out of this Conference the gender perspective be systematically incorporated. We demand the immediate cessation of the military occupation of African descendant communities in the Americas.