International Decade for People of African Descent

Do you know about the UN International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024?

The International Decade aims to celebrate the important contributions of people of African descent worldwide, advance social justice and inclusion policies, eradicate racism and intolerance, promote human rights, and assist in creating better, more prosperous communities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals spearheaded by the United Nations.

On December 10, 2014, the UN General Assembly officially declared 2015–2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent (resolution 68/237) for these reasons:

Across the globe, Africans and the African Diaspora continue to suffer inequality and disadvantage because of the legacy of slavery and colonialism… People of African descent are among the poorest and most marginalized communities around the world. They have high rates of mortality and maternal deaths, and limited access to quality education, health services, housing, and social security. They may experience discrimination in their access to justice, and they face alarmingly high rates of police violence and racial profiling.

The United Nations has a tradition of drawing attention to important global issues that demand long-term attention. The UN General Assembly cited the need to strengthen national, regional, and international cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights by people of African descent, and their full participation in all aspects of society. 

The UN has identified three main objectives for the decade:

Honouring the contributions of the African diaspora

The International Day for People of African Descent will be celebrated for the first time on 31 August 2021. Through this Observance the United Nations aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

International days reflect the values that society shares. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies. Any doctrine of racial superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust, and dangerous and must be rejected, together with theories that attempt to determine the existence of separate human races.

The United Nations strongly condemns the continuing violent practices and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent and condemns structural racism in criminal justice systems around the world. The Organization further acknowledges the Transatlantic Slave Trade as one of the darkest chapters in our human history and upholds human dignity and equality for the victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, in particular people of African descent in the African diaspora.

What are you doing to empower people of African descent in our society? Share this reading with someone who you think would benefit from learning more about this proclamation.