Costa Rica calls for the fulfillment of promises of equality, justice and recognition for people of African descent.
Costa Rica made an urgent call to action last Thursday before the United Nations (UN), to redouble efforts and fulfill the promises of equality, justice and recognition for people of African descent around the world, expressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica.
The Vice President of the Costa Rican Republic, Epsy Campbell Barr, delivered a speech before the General Assembly, in which she stressed that despite the fact that the member states of the Organization have committed to eradicating the social injustices inherited from history, to fight against the racism, prejudice and racial discrimination, the world remains in debt.
“Although efforts have been made in different regions of the world, we have not yet guaranteed the exercise of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights of Afro-descendants, as well as their full and effective participation in all areas of human endeavor, ” she expressed.
“We need facts, not words! Facts that change living conditions and that give certainty to black girls born today that they will be able to study whatever they want, that they will not be forced into pregnancies, that they will be able to play freely, that they will be treated without discrimination, and that they will have the right to be happy,” she continued.
“We need facts, not words! To assure black children born today that they will be able to walk quietly through the streets, without being victims of racial profiling or police brutality,” she added.
Vice President Campbell recalled that more than a year ago, the murder of George Floyd mobilized millions of people of different ethnicities and cultures, in various cities around the world, under the slogan that Black Lives Matter, “to embrace the life of women and Afro-descendants, and launch a desperate cry for equality, a cry of love and respect.”
“This new generation of young people of diverse identities, considers that it was enough, that ruthless death and blatant discrimination cannot be tolerated, that the mistakes of the past should not be repeated, that it is not possible to remain silent and be an accomplice of the injustice, brutality and pain that Africans and Afro-descendants have suffered for years,” she asserted.
Campbell emphasized that, like all countries in the world, Costa Rica also has challenges, but it has shown that with leadership, vision and commitment it is possible to advance towards the fulfillment of the right to a dignified life, free from threats and discrimination.
As an example, she highlighted the adoption, by the UN General Assembly, of a resolution presented by Costa Rica with the co-sponsorship of 52 other member states, to declare August 31 as the International Day of People of African Descent.
By proposing the adoption of this date, Costa Rica wanted to do justice to the struggles, hopes and resistance of Afro-descendant peoples and communities, to fulfill the dream led by Marcus Garvey and those who gathered in 1920, at Madison Square Garden, in order to promulgate the “Declaration of the Rights of the Black Peoples of the World.”
“Let’s not wait another hundred years to keep the promises! I invite you so that in each of your countries this August 31 marks the beginning of a new era, a new path full of hope and enthusiasm, ” she pointed out.
Me reuní esta mañana con la Directora Ejecutiva de @UN_Women, @phumzileunwomen, quien ha realizado un maravilloso trabajo al frente de la institución, durante los últimos 8 años. Costa Rica planteó una serie de iniciativas para la promoción de los derechos de las mujeres. pic.twitter.com/RNRP8DebJu
— Epsy Campbell Barr (@epsycampbell) July 22, 2021
Together with the Republic of Chad, Costa Rica has led the intergovernmental discussions of the General Assembly for the establishment of the Permanent Forum of Afro-descendants.
Vice President Campbell stressed that said body “has the ideal of bringing their voices to the center of our action and reflection, while opening new avenues for articulated work between States, the architecture of the United Nations, and people of African descent, for truly societies. inclusive, diverse, peaceful and fair.” Campbell made an urgent call to this General Assembly to firmly support the realization of the Permanent Forum of Afro-descendants.
Finally, she announced that Costa Rica will launch this year a Global Coalition against systemic racism to define the route of reparations requested by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Coalition will count with the support of different governments, civil society organizations and the private sector.
“It is time that we make a real pact. That is what we need, to show that Black Lives Matter! Let’s build a powerful coalition against systemic racism, let’s define the route of reparations, so that every African and Afro-descendant boy and girl has the guarantee of living fully and with dignity, in a world where she can achieve all her dreams,” she concluded.
Esta tarde pude conversar con un grupo de jóvenes que hacen un trabajo extraordinario en nuestra región para la defensa, promoción y protección de los Derechos Humanos. Cuentan con todo el respaldo de Costa Rica ?? #GeneraciónIgualdad #GeneraciónSinLímites #GeneraciónDeLaLuz pic.twitter.com/4xxLEu5CjN
— Epsy Campbell Barr (@epsycampbell) January 27, 2020
Young people have declared an open war on discrimination, according to Epsy Campbell. The Vice President told La Republica that it is difficult to know how long this fight will last, but Campbell is clear that it is a movement that will no longer stop and that will make an evident transformation in the coming decades.
“For me, being an Afro-descendant woman is an extraordinary opportunity, because it has allowed me to be the first Afro-descendant woman not only in Costa Rica, but also in the entire region,” she expressed.
Costa Rica is a country that has approved the Inter-American Convention against racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia. “Fortunately, we already have a policy to eradicate racism and racial discrimination, while the country makes permanent reports to the Human Rights Commission to verify what actions have been taken,” she added.
Campbell expressed that she has great hope in young people. She has labeled this generation the generation of light, generation equality and generation without limits. “They are taking the best of previous generations, in terms of equality and justice, and they are putting equality and love at the forefront. I think that in Costa Rica we will see a transformation in the coming decades.”
Eradicating racism is everyone’s responsibility, she highlighted. From preschools to the universities, from private companies, developed countries to multinational companies; there should be internal measures to combat discrimination and racism. “Right here in Costa Rica, there is a coalition of companies that have affirmative hiring policies for the Afro-descendant population,” explained Campbell.
The hope for a global change is in the hands of the next generation. “Younger people are more empathetic, they do not ignore a situation because it is not about them,” praised Campbell.
Soledad Quartucci | Latina Republic
Dr. Soledad Quartucci is the founder and CEO of Latina Republic, a 501(C)3 California-based nonprofit organization. Latina Republic is a reporting, research, advocacy and charitable organization advancing human rights in the Americas. We fill the void in coverage of urgent social, political, human rights, economic and gender inequalities affecting the Americas. Through our allies in Latin America, we highlight contributions, heritage, history, leadership and innovation. Latina Republic reports on stories that integrate local strategies to the betterment of the region. We make space for and empower unheard voices and celebrate the rich histories of Latin America.