Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Decade for People of African Descent and the Durban Declaration and Program of Action: Overcoming Inequality and the Challenges Confronting African People in the 21st Century

By Kali Akuno
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Durban + 10 Coalition


In 2011, at the conclusion of the 10 year commemoration of the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) and the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA), the Durban + 10 Coalition, in addition to several international non-governmental organizations and members of the African bloc and the Group of 77 (G-77) nations, proposed to the General Assembly (GA) of the United Nations (UN) that a Decade of People of African Descent be declared and implemented from 2012 through 2022.

While the General Assembly (GA) has considered the Decade proposal on several occasions since the fall of 2011, it has basically stalled as a result of the resistance to it mounted by the United States (US) and several members of the European Union (EU). The resistance of the US and EU states is centered around the Durban Declaration and Program of Action (DDPA) being a fundamental point of orientation and program development for the Decade. The US and various members of the EU have been opposed to the DDPA since its inception in 2001. And they want to make sure that the DDPA has no influence on the Decade and any program of action that is associated with it.

As the approval process continues to drag out within the General Assembly (GA), the US and EU are making steady progress to divorce the Decade and its adoption from the DDPA. Any force concerned with justice for Africa and African people throughout the Diaspora cannot allow this to happen!

The DDPA is one of the most important documents ever produced by the United Nations (UN) pertaining to people of African descent. A few of its most critical contributions are that it recognizes the trans-Atlantic slave trade as a crime against humanity, it acknowledges the economic roots of slavery, the ongoing impact enslavement has upon the social and economic status of people of African descent throughout the world, and states unequivocally that restitution is needed to address the crime of enslavement and the unequal and inequitable systems it has produced.

Given the global scourge of anti-Black racism and the continuing challenges posed by the legacies of the slave trade, slavery, and colonialism, it is critical that there be a Decade of People of African Decent to challenge theses issues in the 21st century. However, we must do everything within our power to make sure that the Decade addresses the deep structural issues confronting African people, and do more than just affirm the cultural contributions of African people. To do this, the Decade must stand on the foundations of the DDPA, and use it as the basis of its programmatic work.

What You Can Do

1.     We encourage all justice loving organizations to endorse the call for Decade of People of African Descent based on the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.
2.     We encourage you and your organization to contact the Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) of the nation-state you are a citizen or resident of and demand that they support the Decade and the inclusion of the DDPA into its programmatic work.
3.     We encourage you and your organization to contact the Secretary General (SG) of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and demand that he push for the Decade to be approved, ensure that it fully incorporates the DDPA, and that the program drafted by the Working Group of People of African descent be adopted, promoted, and fully funded as the core basis of its implementation. The Secretary general can be contacted via mail at United Nations, SA-1B15, New York, NY 10027. By phone at 212.963.7162 or fax at 212.963.7055.
4.     We encourage you and your organization to contact the representatives of the various alliances within the United Nations (UN) - Africa bloc, the Islamic bloc, the Group of 77 (G77), and the Non-Aligned Movement – and implore them to remain firm on their support and commitment to the Decade and the DDPA.
5.     Finally, we encourage you and your organization to organize your own educational and promotional events for the Decade and the DDPA. It is critical that we inform our own social bases and the general public about the importance of the Decade and the DDPA as a means of addressing the human rights crisis confronting people of African descent.

To sign on or for more details please contact Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and Co-Convener of the Durban + 10 Coalition at

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