Racial and Ethnic Equality

Political power is often determined by those who control infrastructure and natural resources. In places with a history of a privileged few dominating the development and benefits of a nation’s wealth, disadvantaged populations find themselves underserved by government and marginalized by their societies. Latin America is home to an estimated 150 million people of African descent—approximately 30 percent of the region’s total population. Despite their numbers, Afro-descendants are routinely subject to racial discrimination, social exclusion, and under-representation in government. Global Rights has worked in Latin America for more than 30 years, at times in more than 10 countries to promote individuals civil and political rights. Since 2001, our activities have focused on advancing racial and ethnic equality for Afro-descendants—a unique focus among international human rights organizations. We work now with local Afro-descendant partner organizations in Brazil and organizations and networks throughout the region to address discrimination. This year, Global Rights began a groundbreaking dialogue in Uganda about ethnic equality with members of civil society and the government. We tailored lessons learned from our decade of experience with Afro-descendant organizations in Latin America to fit the Ugandan context. Global Rights is helping civil society articulate and understand the complex issues that surround ethnic discrimination in Uganda and building greater local capability to combat it. Global Rights also helps our local partner organizations learn to access various UN bodies such as the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and others to be effective advocates and to prepare and submit ‘shadow’ reports that highlight human rights violations on a pervasive, national scale. Similarly, the constituent bodies of the Organization of American States fulfill a similar function, albeit on a regional basis. We assist our partner organizations in the Western hemisphere to access the various relevant constituent bodies of the OAS for advocacy, promotion and protection of human rights as well as redress for individual or collective human rights violations.

Today, we are well known at the OAS and its constituent organizations, having worked with our partners for the ratification of an Inter-American convention against racism and all forms of discrimination and intolerance that advances racial and ethnic equality in Latin America.