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Colombia Welcomes UN Experts on Afro-descendants

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Colombia hosts the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, which will gather information on racism faced by Afro-descendants. Credit: Colombian Foreign Ministry

Colombia has welcomed the United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. This marks the first visit by the group to Colombia since its mandate was established in 2002 by Resolution 2002/68 of what was then the Commission on Human Rights.

The visit, scheduled from May 15 to 24, aims to gather information on any form of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, as well as to assess the overall human rights situation of people of African descent in Colombia.

UN experts on Afro-descendants to visit Colombian cities

The Working Group delegation was received by Vice Minister of Multilateral Affairs, Elizabeth Taylor Jay, at the invitation of the National Government. The upcoming events include meetings in cities such as Tumaco, Cali, Buenaventura, and Quibdo. National entities, local authorities, Afro-descendant individuals, civil society organizations, and people working on issues related to racism and racial discrimination will participate.

The delegation is composed of five independent experts: Barbara G. Reynolds, current Chair-Rapporteur; Bina D’Costa; Dominique Day; Catherine S. Namakula; and Miriam Ekiudoko, members of the Working Group, who will present a report of their visits’ findings to the Human Rights Council in September 2025.

The experts will also promote the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024, which aims to highlight the contributions of Afro-descendants and strengthen national, regional, and international cooperation to ensure the protection of the human rights of Afro-descendants worldwide.

What is the UN Working Group on People of African Descent?

The Working Group was created on April 25, 2002, by the Commission on Human Rights, following the World Conference Against Racism held in Durban in 2001. It is part of the Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Special Procedures is the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system and is the general name for the council’s independent investigation and monitoring mechanisms.

The mandate holders of the Special Procedures are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address situations within specific countries as well as issues seen globally. They are not UN staff and are independent of any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacities and do not receive a salary for their work.

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