For All Points-Of-The-View.
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Dear Prime Minister,
We, the undersigned — in a week that opens with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination[a] and closes with the United Nations International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of "Slavery" and the Transatlantic "Slave Trade"[b] — call upon the British Government officially to recognise the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024.[c]
There is a dire need for recognition, justice, and development for people of African descent in the UK. Britain has a long-standing relationship with African persons and people of African descent, owing significantly to histories and legacies of enslavement, colonialism, and imperialism. Furthermore, Britain has a leading role in the UN, as one of its founders and as a permanent member of the Security Council. Yet, so far, fifteen months into the Decade, the British Government has taken no steps to recognise, resource, or promote the UN International Decade for People of African Descent, here, in the UK. This is despite the fact that the UK prides itself on being a champion for human rights and is mandated to follow Resolutions made by the UN General Assembly.
One such UN Resolution, namely A/RES/69/16, entitled "Programme of activities for the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent",[d] was adopted by the General Assembly on 18 November 2014. According to this Resolution,
People of African descent throughout the world, whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic "slave trade" or as more recent migrants, constitute some of the poorest and most marginalised groups. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security. In many cases, their situation remains largely invisible, and insufficient recognition and respect has been given to the efforts of people of African descent to seek redress for their present condition. They all too often experience discrimination in their access to justice, and face alarmingly high rates of police violence, together with racial profiling. Furthermore, their degree of political participation is often low, both in voting and in occupying political positions. People of African descent can suffer from multiple, aggravated or intersecting forms of discrimination based on other related grounds, such as age, sex, language, religion, political disability, birth or other status.
This situation is true of the United Kingdom, too, as has been definitively demonstrated, in detail, by the Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, following their visit to the UK, between 1 and 5 October 2012[e] (A/HRC/24/52/Add.1).
We, therefore, call upon the British Government to implement the objectives of the UN International Decade, "on the basis of full consultation and collaboration with people of African descent", under the auspices of the theme, agreed by the UN General Assembly, of "recognition, justice and development", and with specific attention to the following:
a) Elaborate, adopt, and implement a national plan of action to combat racism and to secure both full access to legal remedies against unlawful discrimination—intersectionally understood—and equal enjoyment, by people of African descent, of human rights;
b) Revise textbooks and other educational materials to reflect historical facts accurately, as they relate to injustices, in particular to the injustices of the enslavement, the trafficking, and the colonial and imperial oppression of African persons, including Britain's role as a country that profited from and was responsible for these injustices, by supporting initiatives in academic research and educational curricula and by giving recognition to the victims, survivors, and their descendants, through the establishment of sites of memory;
c) Apologise formally for the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of persons as a result of British enslavement, trafficking, genocide, apartheid, colonialism, and imperialism and find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of their victims, and, in particular, take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices, bearing in mind Britain's moral obligations.
For such objectives of the UN International Decade to be fully met, here, in the UK, we suggest that, "on the basis of full consultation and collaboration with people of African descent", with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and, in particular, with the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, the UK establish an independent Commission for the UN International Decade for People of African Descent.
We give notice that, in the absence of a constructive response from your office, we fully intend to establish an independent Commission to examine and explore how the objectives of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent can be implemented and achieved as soon as possible. We hope that you will work with us towards achieving the goals set out by the United Nations and already agreed by your Government.
 UN General Assembly, 69th Session, Resolution 69/16, Annex I. A. §§4-5.
 UN General Assembly, 69th Session, Resolution 69/16, §2.
 UN General Assembly, 69th Session, Resolution 69/16, Annex I. C. §8; II. A. 1. (a) §11 (a) & (f); II. A. 4. (a) §§26-27.
 UN General Assembly, 69th Session, Resolution 69/16, Annex II. A. 1. (a) §12 (c) & (g).
 UN General Assembly, 69th Session, Resolution 69/16, Annex II. A. 2. (a) §17 (i) & (k).
 UN General Assembly, 69th Session, Resolution 69/16, §2.