International Day for People of African Descent

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies.

Honouring the contributions of the African diaspora, The International Day for People of African Descent was celebrated for the first time Aug. 31, 2021.

The Source.

Through this observance, the United Nations (UN) aims to promote the extraordinary contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against people of African descent.

The UN strongly condemns the continued violent practices and excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies against Africans and people of African descent; and condemns structural racism in criminal justice systems around the world.


The Transatlantic Slave Trade is considered by the UN as one of the darkest chapters in our human history. And stresses the importance to continue upholding human dignity and equality for the victims of slavery (the slave trade and colonialism), in particular people of African descent in the African diaspora.

The year 2020 marked the midterm of the International Decade for People of African Descent.

While some progress has been made at legislative, policy and institutional levels, people of African descent continue to suffer intersectional and compounded forms of racial discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion.

Five years into the Decade, the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on the urgency to address long standing structural inequalities and systematic racism in health. The lack of recognition remains one of the major barriers impeding the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by people of African descent.

The year 2020 also marked a turning point in the way these issues are being addressed at international and national levels.

From George Floyd’s murder, racial discrimination prompted important global discussions on racial justice.

The Human Rights Council adopted the resolution, on June 19, 2020, on the “Promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers.”

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad: A secret path to freedom over Niagara Falls

An episode of Global Lens, available on the UN’s website, examines the pivotal role of the Underground Railroad in establishing African American resistance, and celebrates the courage of those who risked their lives to help others escape, including the legendary Harriet Tubman.

Harriet Tubman.

The lead character is educator, author and human rights advocate Saladin Allah, a descendent of Underground Railroad forerunner Josiah Henson, whose life was the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

As a visitor experience specialist at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Allah is an expert storyteller who takes the audience on an unforgettable journey through African- American history, and reminds viewers that everyone can play a role in shaping the next generation.

The UN wants to send out the message that only through education and historical truth-telling can people achieve a recognition of past wrongdoing, and work toward a more just world.

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