Your Excellency Mr. João Vale de Almeida,
We, as the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD), are contacting you as the Head of the European Delegation to the United Nations regarding the Decade for People of African Descent. The Decade is in its third year in 2017 and yet there has been no support of the European Union on this so important matter so far.
In the European Union members states, there have been two official launches of the Decade. On December 12th, 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands’ Ministry of Social Affair and Equality has officially launched the Decade. Germany’s government together with representatives of People of African Descent launched the Decade for People of African Descent on June 7th, 2016.
As stated in United Nations Resolution A/RES/69/16 “Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent” adopted by the General Assembly on November 18th, 2014, says that states have a responsibility to take concrete and practical steps to combat racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against people of African descent. Therefore, we had hoped that the European Union Delegation to the UN would have elevated this special opportunity for People of African Descent, with the UN but also within the European Institution and EU members States by representing the interests of many of their African Descent citizens.
Looking at the website of the Delegation to the UN we have not found any notice of the Decade nor or its launch events in member states. For People of African Descent in Europe, this once more signifies that they are not perceived as an intrinsic part of the European Union, as their realities are not advocated for when the UN and its member States from which all EU countries are part of decides to initiate a Decade. This comes to great disappointment for us and all civil society organisations from African Descent in the European Union.
As ENPAD we hope to engage in a dialog about the opportunities that the Decade can offer for people of African Descent in Europe and how the European Delegation to the United Nations can help support the implementation of the program of action within its member States, thereby alleviating the rising issues and challenges that People of African Descent face in Europe.
We kindly ask you to:
- To support the establishment of a Permanent Forum for People of African Descent at the UN to hear our concerns and issues of People of African Descent on an annual basis as it is customarily for Indigenous People.
- To actively work towards a Decade Conference that is hosted in Europe by one of the European countries
The undersigned representatives of civil society members of ENPAD confidently look forward to working with yourself and the European Delegation to the United Nations for the implementation of the Programme of Activities for the International Decade as presented in the United Nations resolution A / RES / 69/16 in Europe.
Please take note that this letter is an open letter and will be shared with a wider audience.
In this spirit, we remain at your disposal for a meeting with you to discuss how this should be done.
ADEFRA Grassroots e.v., Germany
Zwarte Piet Niet, Netherlands