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People of African Descent

Trafficking in persons belonging to ethnic, national, and religious minorities event

Following a series of expert consultations that the OSR/CTHB and ODIHR organized in August 2021, this NGO roundtable event is seeking to expand the discussion around existing research on the nexus between trafficking and discrimination based on race and ethnicity. This side event will provide a unique opportunity to engage with civil society organizations and gather insights into trafficking patterns and racial and ethnic discrimination against persons belonging to minorities in the OSCE region. 

The open discussion will facilitate an exchange about the gaps in existing research, policies and practices to combat the trafficking of persons belonging to ethnic, national and religious minorities. This will shed a light not only on the many ways in which persons belonging to minorities may be exploited but also on the ways to better respond to the situation and enhance their protection. 

PAD Link executive director, Larry Olomofe will discuss the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Minority Rights. He will provide insight into the remaining gaps that contribute to the trafficking of persons belonging to minority groups. Furthermore, he will provide his recommendations to address the trafficking vulnerabilities of persons belonging to national minorities and the role that civil society can play in the process.

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UPDATE:

We are deeply saddened by the news of baby Vitalis passing. 

Thanks to your donations, Vitalis was able to undergo his first surgery. However, a severe form of hydrocephalus resulted in his health quickly deteriorating. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents and family.

Children leave permanent footprints in our hearts. We will celebrate Vitalis’ legacy every day.

We seek your help on behalf of baby Vitalis who is born with hydrocephalus and urgently needs brain surgery!

Baby Vitalis of 25-days old is born with hydrocephalus, an abnormal buildup of fluid in the ventricles deep within the brain. The excess fluid puts pressure on his brain, which can damage it. If left untreated, hydrocephalus can be fatal. 

In order to save his life, Vitalis needs to undergo a series of brain surgeries. The first surgery is scheduled to take place on September 7th, with many more to come. However, his family does not have the financial means to pay for this. PAD Link in collaboration with Cosmodernity Consultants ask you to help baby Vitalis by making a donation through the following bank details:

IBAN: PL88 1030 0019 0109 8503 0018 8033

Bank name: Bank Handlowy W Warszawie SA

BIC/SWIFT: CITIPLPX

Description: Vitalis Emergency Fund

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International Day for People of African Descent 2022: More Important Than Ever!

People of African descent across the globe remain exposed to discrimination, underrepresented in decision-making positions, and face higher levels of poverty and unemployment across the world. This harsh reality, and the urgency for action, have been made abundantly clear in recent years with the murder of Georgy Floyd in the United States (2020), Ourry Jalloh in Germany (2005), Alika Ogorchukwa in Italy (2022), and numerous other victims of racial discrimination and police brutality. In addition, people of African descent face systemic discrimination, inequalities, profiling in the public and private spheres most notably in employment, housing, and healthcare. This was patently obvious by the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mendacious discrimination people of African descent who are seeking refuge in Europe from the war in Ukraine face. This situation makes the relevance of today that more important as a rallying call for urgent action.

The first declaration on the rights of people of African descent was adopted in New York in August 1920. A century later, in December 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 68/237, proclaiming 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, themed “People of African Descent: recognition, justice, and development.” Later, as we found ourselves halfway through the proclaimed decade, the UN declared August 31st as the International Day for People of African Descent, celebrated for the first time in 2021.

This day aims to pay tribute and advocate for the African diaspora’s worldwide contribution and end all forms of discrimination they continue to face. Furthermore, built on the principles of recognitionjustice, and development, the international decade aims to: (1) promote, respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent, (2) promote knowledge and respect for the diverse heritage, culture, and contributions of people of African descent to the development of societies, and (3) adopt and strengthen multi-level legal frameworks according to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, and to ensure their full effective implementation.

Notwithstanding the bureaucratic but no less important efforts of high-level transnational organizations such as the UN, halfway through this international decade and upon the second celebration of the International Day of People of African descent, we are still far away from achieving the objectives set out in December 2013.

Upon writing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the great minds at the table agreed on “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” as its opening sentence. Nonetheless, close to 75 years after its adoption, the concept of freedom and equality remains to be achieved by a significant part of the world’s population. Due to the transatlantic slave trade and colonial rule, people of African descent continue carrying the burden of discrimination, marginalization, and destructive racism. Thus, as important as this celebratory decade and observance day is to highlight the contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies and to actively combat racial discrimination, this endeavor will require more than an International Day. Centuries of condemnable, socially unjust, and extremely dangerous beliefs based on inequality and racial superiority require more action to restructure flawed systems and societal prejudicial perceptions.

The International Day for people of African descent aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world, eliminate all forms of discrimination, and contribute to the achievement of the goals set out for the International Decade in some of the most challenging years for the international community. Nonetheless, while the conversation is ongoing, we must ensure that we are giving the space to those who need to be at the forefront of this discussion, which implies representation in decision-making positions, proper and adequate access to non-discriminatory healthcare, and advances in social justice and inclusion policies. 

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War is not colorblind: how peaceful protests against the war in Ukraine led to the arbitrary arrests of Ugandan human rights activists

By now, it cannot be denied that the effects of the war in Ukraine are felt and experienced outside of the European continent. In 2020, Uganda imported over 48% of its wheat from both Russia and Ukraine. However, the ongoing war coupled with sanctions has led to excessive increases of commodities such as food. For example, in March 2022, the UN FAO announced that the price of vegetable oil in Uganda increased with 23% while salaries remained the same.

Because of the unbearable prices, a demonstration took place on May 30th, resulting in the arrest of 6 female activists. The arrests and ongoing detention of these activists result in persistent intimidation and harassment. Inflating prices of commodities disproportionally affects those already living in poverty. It is for this reason that another peaceful demonstration took place on August 5th in the Ugandan capital city Kampala. 

The peaceful demonstration of August 5th in Kampala, Uganda

The demonstration was joined by four members of the ‘Ukraine solidarity committee Uganda’, namely: Alex Makanga, Ssekimpi Ali, Muzi benzi Ali, and Sserwanga Shadrak. The committee is known for expressing its sympathy with Ukraine, hence why the demonstration took place in front of the Russian embassy amid the visit of Foreign Minister Lavrov. One of the protesters, Alex Makanga told the media that they decided to walk peacefully to the embassy to call on President Putin to call off the war against Ukraine and to subsequently save people who are failing to make ends meet. According to Makanga, every African country is facing challenging times from a social, economic, and political perspective due to the unnecessary war that Russia wages against Ukraine. 

While it is true that many countries are subjected to excessive inflations, it remains the responsibility of governments (including that of Uganda) to provide adequate access to food, even if international assistance is necessary. PAD Link condemns the arrest of these peaceful protesters as their arrest prevents them from exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Therefore, we demand the immediate release of the six female protesters and that of Alex Makanga, Ssekimpi Ali, Muzi benzi Ali, and Sserwanga Shadrak.