Invisible no more: People of African descent demand rights in Argentina

GENEVA / BUENOS AIRES Argentina must address the long-standing invisibility and persistent structural discrimination faced by Afro-Argentines, people of African descent and Africans, says a group of UN human rights experts* visiting the country.

Argentina should come to terms with the reality that people of African descent are a vulnerable group deserving special measures, said Michal Balcerzak, presenting a statement at the end of the visit.

The Working Group said Afro-Argentines and people of African descent were not fully able to enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights.

In order to ensure that the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda truly leaves no one behind and racial discrimination is addressed, Afro-Argentines and other people of African descent must be recognised and specific programmes developed to protect their human rights, Mr. Balcerzak said.

The delegation, which included human rights experts Sabelo Gumedze and Ricardo Sunga, welcomed the initiatives undertaken by the Government to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and in particular its work to develop a national Afro-descendant Program and action plan to implement the International Decade for People of African descent (2015-2024).

We welcome the Government’s commitment to including an Afro-descendant option in the general questionnaire of the National Population, Household and Housing Census to be carried out in the year 2020, added Mr. Balcerzak.

During their visit from 11 to 18 March, the Working Group travelled to Buenos Aires, Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe to investigate racism, racial discrimination, Afrophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance affecting people of African descent in Argentina.

The Working Group will present a report with its findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019.

Source: United Nations Human Rights