Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day for People of African Descent, observed today:
Today we observe the first-ever International Day for People of African Descent. This day is a celebration of the enormous contributions of people of African descent to every field of human endeavour.
It 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.
Twenty years after the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and more than halfway into the International Decade for People of African Descent, we are experiencing unprecedented momentum towards ending the global scourge of racism. We must not squander this opportunity.
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Slave Route Project calls upon us to speak openly and honestly about the horror and greed of slavery. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) initiative towards investing in young people of African descent focuses on expanding opportunities. And the Agenda towards Transformative Change for Racial Justice and Equality — launched by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) — seeks to dismantle systemic racism, ensure accountability and deliver reparatory justice.
The Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, initiated by the General Assembly, and the new independent mechanism to advance racial justice and equality in law enforcement, established by the Human Rights Council, are important examples of Member States’ commitment to act.
Acknowledging the entrenched legacy of enslavement, redressing the wrongs of history and shattering the evil lie of supremacy demands persistence and action every day, at every level, in every society. Together, let us commit to do our part and advance the promise of equality, justice and dignity for all.