Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As you may know, the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly is opening this month and in October or November it will decide on the mandate, location and organization of the new UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent.
If you are part of an organization with links to the Caribbean or know of any such organization, please encourage it to sign this letter to the Secretary General of CARICOM to compel all the Caribbean Ministries of Foreign Affairs to be fully involved in the drafting of the resolution to ensure that it is as empowering as possible to people of African descent in the Caribbean: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSftJh0SQUwuO0Ikxi_4NvMOfcQBTEit_xmP9jhWXXCLo9_NKA/viewform
Dear Ambassador Irwin LaRoque--Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM),
We, the undersigned, belong to a Caribbean civil society network that is being formed around the UN International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024.
Our regional network is part of a larger international network with member organizations from across the US, Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa -- among them, the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD), the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Sant Pon Ayiti, Virgin Islands Youth Advocacy Coalition and Africans Rising.
Ahead of a UN resolution, that will be discussed and passed this fall at the 74th Session of the General Assembly, on the operationalization of the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent -- we urge you as the Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of CARICOM to reach out to all CARICOM Member States Ministries of Foreign Affairs to kindly ask them to be as involved as possible in making sure that the resolution be as empowering as possible to people of African descent in the Caribbean.
The UN General Assembly resolution from last year that decided on the establishment of a UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent acknowledges that the ongoing effects caused by colonialism must be remedied and welcomes the call upon all the former colonial Powers for reparations to redress the historical injustices of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade (https://undocs.org/A/C.3/73/L.52/Rev.1).
It is our hope as people of African descent in the Caribbean that the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent will give us unprecedented opportunities to speak and make recommendations on our interests to the world community.
For this we will need a Permanent Forum that is:
- Independent with its own mandate to provide advice directly to the Council (be it the HRC or ECOSOC), Member States and the General Assembly;
- Democratic, inclusive and empowering to civil society and allow us to make recommendations and vote on which recommendations, advice and studies should be forwarded to the Council and others according to the Forum mandate;
- Well-funded by the UN through its regular budget and also has a Voluntary Fund for the purpose of, among other things, supporting civil society participation in the Forum.
This Permanent Forum, and the Declaration on the rights of people of African descent towards a legally binding instrument that it is mandated to develop, is a historical opportunity for us people of African descent in the Caribbean and throughout the world and we are counting on your, CARICOM and its Member States’ full support in making sure that it will be effective.
For more information and any other communications with us please contact NN, email and phone number.
Names of orgs...
The letter campaign is led by UN Decade Fellow Genevieve Whitaker of the Virgin Islands Youth Advocacy Coalition in collaboration with myself and Dr Dawn Stewart of Guyana.
In the words of Maurice Bishop and Nkrumah...Forward Ever Backward Never,
Founding and Consultative Member European Network of People of African Descent