PRESS RELEASE

 

BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT DONATES SPECIAL FUNDS TO

SPECIAL RAPPORTEURSHIP ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS OF AFRICAN DESCENT, AND AGAINST RACIAL DISCRIMINATION

 

Nį 4/05

 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) received a very generous donation from the Government of Brazil, destined to fund the activities of the recently created Special Rapporteurship on the rights of persons of African descent and against racial discrimination. 

 

At a ceremony earlier this week, the donation was presented by Mr. Douglas Martins, Brazilís Assistant Secretary for the Special Secretariat for Racial Equality Promotion Policies.  In a brief message he delivered at the occasion, Mr. Martins said that the donation reflected the commitment of the Brazilian Government to the promotion of racial equality in the region.

 

The IACHR was represented by Commissioner Clare K. Roberts, President of the IACHR and recently appointed Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons of African descent and against racial discrimination, as well as Commissioner Josť Zalaquett, Rapporteur for Brazil, and Santiago A. Canton, Executive Secretary of the Commission. 

 

In his message, Commissioner Roberts expressed, among other things:

 

The afro-descendants in the Americas have historically suffered from racism and racial discrimination. Over the past decades, the invisibility of this population along with the lack of information led to a number of initiatives from non-governmental organizations, academics and international bodies to document the existence of the afro-descendants and the causes and consequences of their exclusion.

 

The theme of elimination of discrimination and promotion of the full equality are fundamental in the Inter-American Commission.  Through its experience in individual cases, in situ visits to countries, it has been shown conclusively that in the countries where an unequal distribution of wealth persists, the afro-descendants are the most affected group.  This rapporteurship has its work cut out for it but with the continued support of Brazil and other member States of the OAS, the NGOís and international bodies, we will succeed.

 

The Commission is extremely grateful to the Brazilian government not only for this contribution but also for its leadership in bringing the political discussion of this matter to the OAS and promoting concrete initiatives.

 

          The complete text of the speech of the Special Rapporteur is available at the Inter-American Commissionís website: www.cidh.org.

 

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2005