Discrimination against Africans, a worldwide problem

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A young girl carries her pine seedling, Haiti. UN File Photo/Logan Abassi

Discrimination against people of African descent remains a significant problem in many parts of the world.

That's the reality underlying a special event at UN headquarters on Tuesday headlined "Confronting the Silence…Dialogue on Structural Racism against people of African Descent Worldwide."

The meeting was one of a series of events being held to mark the International Decade for People of African Descent.

Matthew Wells has more.

Colonialism and slavery took an especially heavy toll on Africans and their descendants, and today in many countries around the world, racial discrimination continues to disproportionately affect them, the meeting heard.

Several UN organizations took part in the event, along with church members, Amnesty International, and representatives from the US-based Black Lives Matter pressure group.

Over the past year, Black Lives Matter has received national attention and become a potent political force, in the face of on-going cases of mainly white police officers killing or injuring unarmed African-Americans.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, outlined the different forms of routine discrimination faced by many Africans:

"People of African descent are also victims of hate-crimes and Afrophobia. Communities of African descent are often also poor and marginalized, with higher rates of maternal mortality, and limited access to economic opportunities, or quality education, health services, housing and social security."

Some speakers pointed out that the US was not alone in failing to treat citizens of African descent equally. One academic said that in Brazilian society for example, many had suffered similar discrimination.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration:  1’18″

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