Written Statement to the Third Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent

Third Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent All For Reparations and Emancipation

November 11, 2023 

All For Reparations and Emancipation (AFRE/CURE), an NGO with Consultative Status since 1997, has engaged the United Nations since 1992. We first submitted a 1503 Petition for Reparations for African Americans in the United States. In many of our first UN interventions we identified as African Americans. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, its Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and its Working Group on Minorities recognized the unique concerns for us as a people whose human rights have been denied and violated for centuries. These violations: Slave Trade, Colonialism, Institutional Slavery, de jure and de facto Racism and Discrimination, Forced Assimilation and Ethnocide. 

The UN also sought to connect African Americans with other members of the slavery diaspora who sought protection and recognition of their human rights under the identification of African Latino, Afro-Colombian, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Peruvian, and other names that reflected the loss of identity, language and culture through the transatlantic slave trade and yet chose, or were forced to self-determine as minorities in their domicile countries while using the organizations and mechanism of the UN. 

The United Nations, through the UNCHR Working Group on Minorities, sought to include us with other people by coordinating special workshops and seminars to support our efforts of self-determination. In his 14/08/2002 report to the Sub-Commission on Human Rights, the Working Group on Minorities Chairman, Dr. Asborn Eide, urged “...states in the Latin American and Caribbean region to ensure full and free participation of indigenous peoples, Afro Latin Americans, and other vulnerable groups in all levels of decision making processes.” 

The Sub-Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/16 notes that 2002 marked the tenth anniversary year of the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities and noted the holding of the first Seminar on Afro-descendants issues in the Americas that was held in La Ceiba, Honduras, from 21 to 24 March 2002, and recommended that follow-up meetings be organized in 2003 or 2004. 

The UN in its documents and statements recognized Afrodescendants as the People’s self- chosen identification to gain recognition as well as collaborative and collective support with other Afrodescendants throughout the diaspora of the Caribbean, North, Central and South America that shared common political objectives. 

Throughout our participation in the United Nations, we have called for a Forum for descendants of slavery in the diaspora. Most notable is our call in 2001 at the World Conference Against Racism in South Africa. Mr. Silis Muhammad, leader of AFRE, in point four of his oral and written statement, suggests that “...The forum would provide an environment wherein the gravity of the current situation can be examined, and the extent of damages can be determined. Within such a forum, the victims can discuss and conclude on the means of reparation most beneficial to their restoration individually and as a People.” 

In 2006, at the request of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, AFRE leaders submitted A Regional Perspective on Afrodescendant Quality of Life, A/HRC/Sub.1/58/AC.5/CRP.1 *, 8 August 2006. This UN document further recognized the identification of Afrodescendants in the various states in which they live, as well as a call for reparations as remedy for crimes against humanity which was recognized by the United Nations through the Durban Declaration and Program of Action. 

Citing other examples of self-determination, Afrodescendants have exercised their human rights and have democratically organized as the Afrodescendant Nation; demonstrating the political will of the people while also taking it upon themselves to repair matters and concerns amongst their own people. 

We understand that the term People of African Descent does include Afrodescendants, however we do note our unique concerns that were originally addressed in the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Working Group on Minorities that descendants of slaves in the diaspora have unique circumstances because of the loss of language, identity, culture, and religion while enduring centuries of colonialism, institutional slavery, apartheid, de facto / de jure racism and discrimination and its lingering effects that continue even to this day. Police brutality garnered through the support of state and federal governments also support policies in education that undermine the right to high quality education, policies in healthcare that negatively impact the quality of life, financial policies that undermine the building of generational wealth though banking and real estate, legislative policies that support voter suppression in the states in which they live and finally policies that create climates that do not develop sustainability of Afrodescendant life and culture. 

The Afrodescendant Nation and People seek reparatory justice in the form of full and complete reparations. We ask that you support our efforts to organize and educate Afrodescendants so to improve the quality of life and human rights that have so long been denied and violated. We support the continuation of the Permanent Forum of People of African Descent and encourage regional seminars to support Afrodescendants in those places in which they live. 

Ishmael Abdul-Salaam, Governor General, 
AFRE CEO | Governing Board Chair 

Ajani Mukarram, Governor General, 
AFRE Governing Board Member 

Dr. Tauheedah Sabree Bronner, 
AFRE Governing Board Member 

AFRE Emeritus Advisors
H.E. Mr. Silis Muhammad 
H.E. Harriet Abubakr, Atty. 
H.E. Ida Hakim