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Event: “Reparations and Human Rights Obligations to Ensure Racial Justice”


74th session of the United Nations General Assembly

“Reparations and Human Rights Obligations to Ensure Racial Justice”

Organized by the Mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

10:00am to 12:00pm, 30 October 2019

Conference Room 12, United Nations Headquarters, New York


In her 2019 report (A/74/321) to the General Assembly, E. Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, addresses the human rights obligations of Member States regarding reparations for racial discrimination rooted in slavery and colonialism. Her report emphasizes that the racial injustices of these historic atrocities not only continue to shape our present but also entail moral, economic, political, and legal responsibilities. The Special Rapporteur condemns States’ continuing resistance to reparations and the entrenchment of colonial dynamics in international law. Her report ultimately underscores that reparations for historical atrocities are integral to eradicating structures of inequality and realizing Member States’ international human rights legal obligations, including those obligations enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.


The side event aims to promote engagement with the Special Rapporteur’s report and to promote awareness of UN Member States’ human rights legal obligations regarding reparations for discrimination rooted in slavery and colonialism. The side event will also be an opportunity to share relevant practices, experiences, and advocacy strategies that help ensure respect for human rights, non-discrimination, and racial equality. Particularly pertinent to this side event will be stakeholder contributions regarding reparations, racial justice and equality, and the decolonisation of international human rights law.


The side event will be hosted and moderated by Tendayi Achiume, UN Special Rapporteur on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, with the participation of Ahmed Reid, Chairperson, UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, and other panellists.


This event is open to all Member States, civil society representatives, and the general public.

For those individuals who wish to attend the event but who do not possess a UN-issued badge, an RSVP message to the mandate’s official email (racism@ohchr.org) will be necessary to ensure entry. The mandate must receive these RSVPs no later than 27 October 2019. In your RSVP, please enter “SR Racism Side Event, 30 October 2019” in the email subject line and include your name, job title, organization, and contact details in the email body.


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