Human Rights Council Holds General Debate on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Forms of Intolerance


After concluding its general debate on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the UN Human Rights Council opened its general debate on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related forms of intolerance by hearing a report from the Inter-governmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. In particular, the report addressed the importance of acknowledging the economic, social, cultural, political, and scientific contributions made by people of African descent, acknowledging the suffering inflicted upon them as a result of slavery, the slave trade, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies, as well as the fact that colonialism has led to racism and racial discrimination with continued consequences. It expressed a “deep concern that the social, economic, political and legal structures and practices that were designed by enslavement, colonialism and successive racially discriminative policies still persisted today”.

Last year, the Working Group was also tasked by Resolution A/RES/76/226 of the General Assembly to draft a new UN declaration on the promotion and full respect of the human rights of people of African descent. Important elements of their progress were included in the annex of the report, emphasizing that the consideration of the concerns expressed by people of African descent themselves is essential for the legitimacy of the drafting process.

Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s fifty-second regular session can be found here.


Author: Laura Vizi