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SG/SM/21615

Permanent Forum ‘a Vital Platform’ to Realize Full Human Rights for People of African Descent Everywhere, Secretary-General Tells Inaugural Session

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the inaugural session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, in Geneva today:

As we open this inaugural Forum, we are walking the path paved by generations of people of African descent in their pursuit of freedom and equality.

We celebrate the achievements and contributions of people of African descent in every field of human endeavour.  But we recognize the long road ahead.  Racism, discrimination, stigmatization, and scapegoating continue to blight our world.  The legacy of centuries of enslavement and exclusion continues to reverberate in entrenched inequalities and injustices.

Acknowledging past wrongs and seeking justice and redress are critical.  We must reverse the enduring consequences of colonial exploitation — including through reparatory justice.

Twenty years after the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action — and in the final stretch of the International Decade for People of African Descent — we are seeing real momentum for change.

This Permanent Forum is a vital platform to transform momentum into action.  Together, let us all do our part to realize — at long last — the full human rights of people of African descent everywhere, in every country.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.