Geneva, 29 December 2021 (TDI): The Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent visited Paris, France, from 13 to 16 December to carefully assess and better understand the situation of people of African descent in the country.

Additionally, they provided advice on defending their human rights and integrating them into the country’s development efforts. The working visit mission included extensive consultations with UNESCO, human rights groups, and a dynamic range of civil-society groups familiar with development issues.

During country visits, the Special Procedures carefully gather facts, diagnose problems, and make recommendations. The Working Group visited France to intuitively understand the barriers to realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Especially those that affect people of African descent, such as the invisibility or disregard of modern-day repercussions of slavery and colonialism. Additionally, they were looking for how they could support the state’s ability to develop effective policies to support continuous improvements enthusiastically.

During this exercise, the Working Group correctly applied the operational guidelines on African inclusion in the 2030 Agenda. UNESCO has, thus far, been a significant facilitator and reliable source of learning and insight for the project, as per Dominique Day. She is the Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.

To develop a dialogue on the country’s commitment to human rights, the Working Group will share observations gathered during its visit with representatives from the French government.

According to her, “France should consider partnering with people of African descent.”

Despite a historical narrative of meritocracy, people of African descent reported, even with notable skill and talent, that benediction by institutional gatekeepers was indispensable for access and recognition, according to Day’s words.

Race-based gatekeeping persistently violates human rights, imposes severe development costs on people of African descent, and robs France of a proven economic driver.

The official delegation welcomed ongoing efforts in some areas to shed light on key barriers and to construct networks to ensure people of African descent may access the formal and informal mechanisms necessary for their hiring and professional development.

Working Group members will share their initial observations with the French government and propose an engaging dialogue during an official visit to the country.