The United Nations (UN)’s International Day for People of African Descent is annually observed across the globe on 31st August to promote the extraordinary contributions of African descent people all around the world.
- This day also aims to promote and protect the human rights of people descended from African victims of enslavement.
31st August 2023 marks the 3rd observance of International Day for People of African Descent.
i.On 16 December 2020, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution A/RES/75/170 and proclaimed the 31st of August of every year as the International Day for People of African Descent.
- The year 2020 marked the midterm of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).
ii.The first-ever International Day for People of African Descent was observed on 31st August 2021.
iii.The efforts to establish the International Day for People of African Descent was under the initiative of Costa Rica.
Note: Costa Rica changed its political constitution in 2015 and defined itself as a democratic, free, independent, multiethnic, and multicultural Republic.
Why 31st August?
i.31st August marks the closing date of the Universal Negro Improvement Association’s first international convention called the First International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World in 1920.
ii.The Convention opened in Liberty Hall, New York, the United States of America (USA) on August 1, 1920, and adopted the Declaration of Rights of the Negro People of the World.
- It was one of the world’s earliest and most comprehensive human rights documents.
International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024:
i.On 23rd December 2013, the UNGA adopted the resolution A/RES/68/237 and proclaimed the decade 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent.
ii.As proclaimed by the UNGA, the theme for the International Decade is “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development.”
Note: Around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.
According to the data from the United Nations Population Fund UNFPA (formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities), UN’s sexual and reproductive health agency:
i.Afro-descendent women and girls across the Americas experience systemic denials of quality care, mistreatment, and abuse at the hands of the health sector, which leads to deadly impacts.
ii.In the USA, women and girls of African descent are 3 times more likely to die during or shortly after childbirth than non-Afrodescendants.
- In Suriname they are 2.5 times more likely; and 1.6 times more likely in Brazil and Colombia.