Summits of the Americas Newsletter

February 2009 | Summits Online | Espaņol

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Second Inter-American Afro Descendants Forum held in the Dominican Republic

The Second Inter-American Afro Descendants Forum “Participation and Advocacy of Afro-Descendants in the Fifth Summit of the Americas: Securing our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability” was held on January 15-16, 2009 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, with the participation of nearly 60 representatives of afro descendant organizations from Latin America and the Caribbean.

This Forum signaled the importance given by the OAS to the creation and strengthening of spaces for participation by afro descendant civil society organizations in the Summits of the Americas Process. At the event, participants discussed the situation of the human rights of afro descendants in the Americas as well as the advancements, challenges and opportunities for participation by this sector in the Summits Process.

Forum participants also assessed the mandates from previous Summits, particularly those from the Fourth Summit of the Americas. This evaluation served as the basis for the formulation of specific recommendations regarding afro descendants’ expectations as they relate to the Fifth Summit. The recommendations were made in the spirit of reaching a categorical commitment with regard to racism and all other forms of discrimination and intolerance; mention was made of the need for implementation of more inclusive policies that guarantee the sustainable and socioeconomic development of afro descendant and indigenous communities of the region. Also, OAS Member States were called upon, in the Forum recommendations, to approve the draft Inter-American Convention against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, as well as to create an inter-American institute for afro descendants, which would have as its mission the improvement of the economic and social status of this group.

The recommendations emanating from this forum were compiled and presented to OAS Member States at the 2nd Meeting of Negotiations of the Summit Implementation Review Group (SIRG) of 2009, held February 9-13, 2009, to serve as an important input to the ongoing negotiations on the draft Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain. The Declaration is expected be adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the 34 Member States of the OAS within the context of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, to be held in Port of Spain, on April 17-19.

The Forum was organized by the civil society organizations Global Rights and the Dominican-Haitian Network Jacques Viau, with the support of the Inter-American Foundation and the Organization of American States.

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