AFRE comments to Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent 2023

AFRE testimony offered to 32d Session of the 
Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
2023-May-1-5 (source, local)

Greetings to the Honorable Members of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. 

Thank you for inviting written submissions to your 32nd Session for the purpose informing you prior to your presentation to the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council and to the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

This communication is from All for Reparations and Emancipations, AFRE/CURE, a Consultative NGO granted status 1997. AFRE/CURE communicated with the UN from 1998 to 2006, attending all sessions of the Working Group on Minorities, Sub-Commission, and Commission on Human Rights as well as several forums. Under the NGO, leaders of the descendants of enslaved Africans in the US argued violation of human rights under Article 27 of the ICCPR. They charged the crimes of ethnocide and forced assimilation. 

The desire of the leaders was for this emerging human family to be recognized by the UN as a People seeking reparations and self-determination. Through those years, due to the valiant efforts of the three aforementioned UN bodies, leaders from across the slavery diaspora were able to meet together in forums and ask for and receive UN recognition under the identity of Afrodescendants. 

Due to trans-generational enslavement, Afrodescendants are deprived of their right to mother tongue, religion, family legacy and cultural identity, and these human rights cannot be returned. Their human identity was replaced with a ‘slave’ identity, and they were lost to themselves. The loss continues to this day, and it has resulted in challenges with regard to unity. Within the US it is important to note that when Black leaders organized and attempted to nationalize in the 1960s, the US Government intervened with COINTELPRO and brought that human rights movement to an end. This was a violation of the ICCPR, as the People were attempting to unify and establish an identity.

The goal of determining a collective identity and being recognized as Afrodescendants was achieved with the help of the three UN bodies, all of which were closed when the UN reformed and established a Human Rights Council. The Afrodescendant leaders did not begin communicating with the Working Group on People of African Descent at that time, as their claim of violation of human rights is not based upon the damages of racism. Although Afrodescendants are of African descent, they are a new People, having survived enslavement, destruction of identity, and countless other assaults on their human rights. They are people of African descent who claim the right to be a recognized People unto themselves… a People whose African identity was intentionally and viciously destroyed; a People who now seek self-determination and reparations.

This communication comes at a time when Afrodescendant leaders are organizing the various reparations organizations in the US and Americas Region under the umbrella of the Afrodescendant Nation. These leaders are determining ways and means of conducting a plebiscite and they remain committed to self-determination, and full and complete reparations. Afrodescendant Peoples are experiencing ethnogenesis after more than 400 years of ethnic and cultural death. 

Their unity efforts can be assisted by the Working Group on People of African Descent if this working group wishes to assist. Afrodescendant Peoples are spread across North, Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands. The Working Group can assist them in once again communicating with each other; with leaders meeting together in one location to discuss the subject of unity, reparations and self-determination. 

We ask you to recognize Afrodescendants as a new People, recognize the need for a self-chosen identity if human rights are to be restored, recognize the need for unity of this human family descended from enslaved Africans, and recognize their right to self-determination and reparations. 

Thank you for this opportunity to communicate.

All for Reparations and Emancipation AFRE/CURE