The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution on Monday establishing the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent to provide expert advice on addressing the challenges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance.
The resolution adopted by consensus from the 193-member world body also calls for the forum to serve as a platform for improving the safety and quality of life and livelihoods of people of African descent and their full inclusion in the societies where they live.
The forum’s establishment came during the International Decade for People of African Descent, which began on Jan 1, 2015, and ends on Dec 31, 2024. It is focused on the themes of recognition, justice and development.
The new body’s creation also came ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, which was dominated by clashes over the Middle East and the legacy of slavery. The United States and Israel walked out during the meeting over a draft resolution that critically singled out Israel and likened Zionism to racism.
That language was dropped in the final documents, which condemned and called for the eradication of the scourges of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance. The documents also expressed deep regret at the human suffering caused by slavery, and acknowledged that slavery and the slave trade are crimes against humanity and should always be so.
The resolution approved on Monday by the General Assembly stated that despite efforts to combat various forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance remain widespread and should be condemned.
The assembly called the global fight against racism “a matter of priority for the international community”.
The Permanent Forum of People of African Descent was given a series of mandates. These include helping to ensure the full political, economic and social inclusion of people of African descent, and providing expert advice and recommendations on addressing racism to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, the General Assembly’s main committees and UN agencies.
The resolution said the forum will consist of 10 members－five elected by the General Assembly from all regions and five appointed by the Human Rights Council. All members shall serve in their personal capacity for a period of three years with the possibility of reelection or reappointment for one additional term.