National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America
Jumoke Ifetayo, National Male Co-chair Diana Kimble, National Female Co-Chair
(601) 885- 3081 P.O. Box 90604, Washington, DC 20090 firstname.lastname@example.org
REPARATIONS NOW: RIGHTEOUS DEMAND FOR JUSTICE
Position Paper on the Preliminary Report of UNITED NATIONS Human Right Council Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent
(The Working Group) from its visit to US, January 19 to 29th 2016
On Friday January 29th 2016 The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent held a press conference which focused on its preliminary findings assessing the situation of African Americans and people of African descent in the United States. This followed in response to an invitation by the US government to visit the country from January 19-29th 2016. The Working Group visited Washington DC, Baltimore, Maryland, Jackson, Mississippi, Chicago and New York City and met with hundreds of civil society representative organizations, lawyers and individuals from the African American community. During the press conference the Working Group stated that it regretted that it did not receive access according to the terms of reference for special procedure mandate holders to visit Mississippi State Penitentiary Parchman, nor meet with all of the high level state and local level authorities requested.
The Working Group assessed the situation of African Americans and people of African descent and gathered information on the forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance that they faced and continue to face during its visit. The Working Group studied the official measures and mechanisms taken to prevent structural racial discrimination and protect victims of racism and hate crimes as well as responses to multiple forms of discrimination. The visit focused on both good practices and challenges faced in realizing African-Americans human rights.
It concluded in its preliminary findings that despite substantial changes since the end of the dejure segregation and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today. The Working Group also concluded that the persistent gap in almost all the human development indicators, such as life expectancy, income and wealth, level of education and even food security, among African Americans and the rest of the US population, reflects the level of structural discrimination that creates de facto barriers for people of African descent to fully exercise their human rights. In Washington DC the Working Group found that the process of gentrification (ethnic cleansing) has a heavy impact on African Americans who are being displaced from city centers under the argument of the need for new investment and development. In particular, the Working Group was alarmed by incidents of eviction, demolition and conversion of Barry Farm public housing in Washington DC, similar to what has happened to public housing in cities across America.
The Working Group stated in its report that it was particularly concerned that African Americans did not and do not have the possibility to bring their cases or individual complaints to regional and international bodies when they have exhausted all domestic remedies at the state and federal level as they are not party to the protocols which would allow them to bring complaints. Furthermore, International human rights treaties cannot be invoked in national courts as there is no enabling legislation and they have been declared non-self-executing.
Recommendations and plan for action:
N’COBRA supports the recommendations of the Working Group, especially, advocating that the US government should acknowledge that the transatlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity and is among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and that Africans and people of African descent were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences and vestiges. N’COBRA supports the Working Group’s suggestion that Congress pass the H.R. 40 – Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act and establishes the Commission to examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies.
N’COBRA acknowledges and applauds the Working Group for its findings which validate and confirm the injuries sustained by people of African descent since slavery, and which were identified and documented by N’COBRA nearly twenty (20) years ago:
- Peoplehood/Nationhood: The domination of the larger culture upon Black peoples;
- Education: The denial of the right to a quality education, and mis-education;
- Criminal Punishment; Discrimination and disproportionate punishment within theUS criminal justice system on People of African Descent;
- Wealth/Poverty; Deprivation of wealth and continuation of poverty subjugation; and
- Health; The denial of quality healthcare during and post slavery.
Since the Working Group acknowledged that African Americans and people of African descent have no vehicle to register complaints to international bodies when domestic and federal remedies fail and have been exhausted, N’COBRA highly recommends that the United Nations establishes the appropriate vehicle and protocols by which affected groups, such as people of African descent in the US, can directly appeal to international bodies for relief, particularly, a vehicle and protocol that mitigate the continued US government, federal and local, hostility toward African-Americans and people of African descent under their jurisdiction, and if necessary, apply appropriate measures until such hostility has ceased.
N’COBRA further recommends that the UN assist N’COBRA with the necessary resources and technical assistance in conducting a plebiscite in order to determine those African Americas and people of African descent currently residing in the U.S. who desire political separation either repatriation or a sovereign nation state, the latter as called for by the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PG-RNA). The cry
of African-Americans and people
of African descent after centuries of subjugation as reported by the Working Group.
N’COBRA declares that the appropriate reparation remedies for African Americans and people of African descent be in alignment with the UN International guidelines for reparations, which are: Restitution, Damages Compensation, Rehabilitation, Satisfaction, and Guarantees of non- repetition.
N’COBRA will continue to work with local, national, international organizations, international bodies, and supportive governments to see that justice and reparations for African-Americans and people of African descent are guaranteed.