Dominique Day, chair of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, was speaking the day after his visit to Paris from December 13 to 16.
Focus on development
Country visits of United Nations rights experts take place at the invitation of the host government and focus on fact-finding, diagnosis and recommendations.
However, the task force’s mission was different, as members considered the opportunities and obstacles to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) specific to people of African descent.
These problems include the invisibility or contempt for current experiences that may arise from the legacy of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.
“Despite a narrative of meritocracy, people of African descent at various stages of their educational and professional development, including those who have experienced significant success, have said that blessing by institutional gatekeepers is essential for access and recognition, even in the presence of important skills and talents, ” said Dominique Day, chairman of the working group.
“Racialized control is contrary to human rights, imposes high development costs on people of African descent individually and as a whole, and deprives France of a proven economic engine in multiple fields” she added.
During the mission, the working group collaborated with human rights institutions, the United Nations Agency for Education and Culture, UNESCO and a wide range of familiar civil society representatives. with the development context.
“The delegation welcomed the ongoing efforts in certain areas to shed light on the main obstacles and create networks to ensure that people of African descent can access the formal and informal mechanisms necessary for their employment and development. professional. the statement said.
The visit was also an opportunity to propose specific “development drivers” that the French authorities could use to promote improvements, and the mission was guided by the Guidelines of the Working Group on the inclusion of people of descent. Africa in the 2030 Agenda.
Ms Day said that UNESCO’s Slave Route project was a key source of knowledge for experts, as it helped highlight the historical and legacy issues behind the current experiences reported by scholars. people of African descent.
“Although the Working Group has not met with representatives of the French government at this stage, it will share its observations gathered during this visit to engage in a dialogue based on the country’s human rights commitments. France should consider the economic and development benefits of partnership with people of African descent, ”she said.
The Working Group will share its preliminary observations with the French government and will propose the opening of a dialogue within the framework of an official visit to the country.
Independent experts, special rapporteurs and members of working groups are appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to monitor and report on country-specific situations or thematic issues.
These individuals serve in an individual capacity and are not United Nations staff, nor are they remunerated by the United Nations.