Public Statement “For historical appreciation of Afro-descendant and indigenous populations in the public sphere and in the world of work"
The Regional Inter-American Committee to Combat Racism, Xenophobia and all related forms of Public Services International (PSI) on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination*, March 21, reaffirms the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, now in it’s 75th year
It is made public to denounce the serious and worrying situation of the growing number of cases of racism and xenophobia in the daily life of our countries. In this sense, we also talk about the profile of the victims of hunger, lack of housing, education, public health, water, basic sanitation, security and more.
We speak from the perspective of the most vulnerable people; of the more than 134 million Afro-descendants and 55 million Indigenous people in our region; and also
We are talking about social networks used to promote crimes.
Of the increasing dissemination of hate speech, racism and xenophobia in all countries, from Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Argentina to thousands of white supremacist groups in Brazil.
We talked about the struggle of the Afro-Argentine people for recognition and visibility. Of recognition in the Demographic Census, but also of gaining awareness of their own history through the example of Remedios Rosas (Maria Remedios del Valle), who was a black captain who fought and stood out in the process of the country's Independence in the XIX century. In her honor, Law No. 26852 was approved, which established November 8 as the "National Day of Afro-Argentines and Afro culture."
Of the Mapuche people in Chile, in the framework of the Constituent Assembly, who suffer from police and corporate violence against their struggle for self-determination and the demarcation of their ancestral lands.
Of migratory processes that are part of our productive supply chains, of international migrants, but also regional and national ones, such as Andean, Venezuelan, Haitian, Central American and Brazilian migrants from different regions who seek their survival.
We are talking about the disproportionate use of force, the political and ethnic-racial violence in Peru carried out by the government of Dina Baluarte, the Army and the police forces against indigenous people and peasants 100 days ago, which has already resulted in more than 100 deaths.
From Ecuador, where there is clear political persecution against trade union and indigenous organizations such as CONAIE and/or in Colombia, where the first Afro-descendant woman to reach the vice presidency of the country and representatives in government positions is/are attacked and slandered daily, simply for their Afro or Indigenous ancestry.
We are talking about responsibility, about the silence of the Bolsonaro government on all the requests for help made. On the genocide caused to the Yanomami indigenous population, also a victim of illegal mining, malnutrition and preventable causes, which in 2022 alone has suffered about 570 indigenous children deaths (according to official data).
We are talking about the genocide of young black men on the metropolitan regions of large Brazilian and Colombian cities by the police forces, as well as their disproportionate numbers where 75.5% of the homicides are of Afro-descendants (Atlas de la Violencia, 2020), based on the Brazilian case.
Beyond our region, we continue to see how racial and police violence continues to take the lives of Afro-descendants in the US. How the great international press silences on the conflicts in Africa such as Sudan or the serious humanitarian situation in Haiti or Ethiopia.
It is unacceptable that we have news of religious racism, of children killed in favelas by stray bullets and of slave labor in the 21st century in the production of clothing, telephones and wine in our region - remembering that the ILO speaks of 1.2 million people in a situation of forced labor in our region. It is unacceptable that we have news that governments are colluding with the gold rush in the Amazon and with the death of entire indigenous populations.
Once again, the traces of structural and systemic racism are also reproduced in the world of work, with slave and forced labor, with imposed criminality, with informality, with unemployment and the lack of social protection that became even more latent during the Covid19 pandemic.
With the largest black population outside of Africa and a huge indigenous population, made up of descendants of those who survived the colonization process; from our committee we point out paths for a better world. And we defend:
Permanent spaces for dialogue between governments, employers and workers with the aim of combating racial discrimination;
Creation of government spaces and public transparency mechanisms aimed to combat racial and gender violence, with a special focus on young black women;
National laws that criminalize any type of racist or xenophobic discrimination in our countries;
Access without discrimination to fundamental public rights and services, such as food, decent housing, health care, education, technology, transportation, and work;
Promote affirmative actions, such as the establishment of specific academic training policies and programs and/or public career plans for black and indigenous employees;
Promotion of national decent work policies for the black and indigenous population;
Value income transfer policies and social and collective initiatives of Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples as protagonists of political, social and economic development;
Afro-descendant and Indigenous Labor Quota Law in our countries;
Respect for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.
In addition to the proposals listed above, PSI, together with regional human rights institutions, we continue to fight for the ratification and implementation of ILO Conventions 111, 169 and 190; and the main regional conventions, such as the Organization of American States (OAS): American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance (A68) and the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance (A69).
Inter-American Committee to Combat Racism, Xenophobia
and all related forms of Discrimination and Intolerance
Public Services International (PSI)
*The “International Day for the Elimination of the Racial Discrimination”, March 21 marks the terrible Sharpeville Massacre, in which South African police, under the direction of the apartheid-racial segregation regime, killed 69 people on March 21 from 1960.
Learn about the history of the Public Services International (PSI) Inter-American Committees on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, Young Workers and LGBTQIA+ promoted by the DGB Bildungswerk's "Fighting Inequality" project with PSI.